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Oakridge Reservoir #4

Oakridge Reservoir #4 by Dawna Morton

Oakridge Reservoir #4 by Dawna Morton

Watercolor on Fabriano Uno 300 lb Rough 100% cotton paper, 7 1/2″ x 11″, 2001. Intellectual property of Dawna Morton. All rights reserved. Do not copy in any form.

Gnarly tree stump surrounded by weathered gray branches juxtaposed against a view of algae and rocks under the vibrant blue water of Oakridge Reservoir. Forested green Oregon mountains frame the hazy blue mountain ranges in the distance.

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This is one of a set of four small paintings I  did quite some time ago of  Oakridge Reservoir. At that point I was going for more of a photo realism than an impressionist feel. Originally, what drew me to paint this particular scene was the weather beaten stump and tangle of dead gray branches in the foreground. My favorite aspect now is the way the algae can be seen floating under the surface of the water where it is still shallow near the stump.

Although I had not yet studied composition, it does have good composition with the eye flowing easily from the stump, down through the tree branches  to the algae in the lower right hand corner, and then up through the pattern of darker waves in the water to the forested mountains in the uppermost right, continuing counter clockwise  across the more distant mountain ranges hazy and glowing yellow in the morning light to the tree covered hills on the left, and back down to wards the tree stump again through the shadowy reflection of one of the trees in the water.

Usually I like a very smooth watercolor paper because it does not give me any surprises in where the paint pools, but I think in this case the rough paper helped with the effect of the algae in the water. I experimented with the new paper because there  had been an ad in Artist Magazine to write and get some samples of  Fabriano Uno paper.  Up until that time I had been painting my watercolors all on regular sketch paper because all the watercolor paper I had seen in highschool had been extremely textured, which did not appeal to me. I definitely like the thicker watercolor paper. The higher the number of pounds, the better I like it. I still tend to go for a really smooth texture on the paper though… guess I’m still a bit of a control freak  😉

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