from a dad's view

The Cool Dark Woods – Watercolor

Click to enlarge photo

The sun was peeking through the window of forest.  A cool mist still chilling the air, within its boundary.  The rustling of the forest floor under my feet as I walk through the darkening forest, knowing once I break through the edge of the forest, new light and warm air, will be there awaiting. What amazes me is how much cooler and darker it is in a deep forest.  I’ve been hunting before, when I thought, that I only had minutes to get to the car before dark, but once your outside of the woods edge, it brightens up and you actually have a lot of time before sunset.

Actually, I painted this friday evening while sitting next to the river, with no trees and bright sunlight, but I had seen a picture like this online and decided to try without a reference.  I finished it in a few hours, and had concerns in the beginning, but by time it was finished, I was pretty happy with it.  I enjoy painting along the river, it is so peaceful, and the people are wonderful that are on their walks.  I even had a little boy, probably 3-4 years old help me do some of the leaves with a sponge.  I love to allow little ones to help even if they ruin it, because it opens their and their parents eyes on what is possible if you just try it.

The painting is about 8.5″  x  11″ and is on 140lb coldpress paper, all in watercolor.

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22 responses

  1. I love that you let the little boy help you, Ryan! It’s a beautiful painting, even tho it’s a little scary in it’s dark realism. I’m waiting for the boogie man to crawl outta the bushes and yell “BOO!”. Your trees are really amazing! 🙂

    April 11, 2011 at 7:18 am

    • The only Boogie Man in this woods is, KC and the Sunshine Band playing in my ear buds (your to young to remember that song) Disco Era! Hated disco, but liked KC songs. Anyways Thank you Beth, it’s always fun to allow the little ones to help, whether its sand sculpturing, painting or helping build something out of wood, it’s just gives them a little wonder of what they can do. Kids needs this now days.

      April 13, 2011 at 6:17 am

  2. Yes, it was very nice of you to allow the little boy help you paint; he must have enjoyed that.
    The cool forest is a wonderful retreat me in the summertime when I’m doing yard work to go cool off, when I don’t want to walk into the house just yet.
    Your painting is amazingly, Ryan!

    April 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

    • Thank you Debbie,
      The little boy only did a few dabbles with the sponge, but he seemed to have fun doing it, at least I sparked a little interest in art. Next time you walk into a cool forest, I hope you think of my painting!

      April 13, 2011 at 6:10 am

  3. Very cool about the little boy. You just sparked his interest!
    Your woods is beautiful and from memory. Fantastic.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    • Thanks Leslie,
      I’m not sure which was more fun to watch, the little boy making the leaves or the mothers face when I ask the little boy if he wanted to help make leaves. The look in her eyes… The, Oh God he’ll screw it up look. But was excited once she seen the turn out. Very funny!

      April 13, 2011 at 6:08 am

  4. Ryan, I think this may be my new favorite. I love your use of light and shadow. The detail on the forest floor is amazing; you are a wonder with watercolor!

    April 12, 2011 at 6:49 am

    • Wow, Thank you Bree!
      This was all new to me with watercolors, trying to capture the darkness in the foreground without muddying things up. Thanks again for the sweet comment!

      April 13, 2011 at 6:05 am

  5. Very nice. This has a masculine feel to me.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

  6. This is a beautiful painting and made even more beautiful by allowing the little boy to paint also.

    April 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

  7. THIS IS A WATERCOLOR?????? Sorry for yelling, but this is amazing. I really find it intriguing and beautiful. Good for you for letting that little boy help. I wish I had been there, I would have wanted to help too. Or at least watch.
    I love the sunlight coming in from the background and lighting up the whole center of the painting. I also really like how you were able to go so dark with the trees, but not lose what they are…trees. I would have ended up with big black blogs.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    • YES! THIS IS 100% WATERCOLOR! Wow, I thought you were my wife there for a moment, yelling at me! LOL
      Thanks Carol, this was all new to me, and there are a few things that I would have different, but very happy with the final. I wished that I would have left a little green, misty trees in the opening, but the foreground dark trees and the forest floor, I was really happy with, especially doing it with no reference. As for the little boy, I think the next time that I go to the river to paint, I’m going to take a few 4″ x 4″ scraps and let kids paint, if they want. Maybe I’ll show them how to paint a tree or something using sponges and brushes, who knows!

      April 13, 2011 at 6:01 am

  8. Oh it makes me want to go explore there! Very inviting and enticing. And so lush and cool. Stuffed with gentle mysteries. MMM.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    • I love exploring forest, just remember to use bug spray before you enter! The woods is filled with beauty, mystery and natural wonders, a person just has to look at it with open eyes. Thanks!

      April 13, 2011 at 5:55 am

  9. I remember that growing up in Missouri, but New Mexico’s woods aren’t like that at all. Even in the thick they don’t get dark like that. Cool feeling tho, to have more time than you thought
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne

    April 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    • Thank you CheyAnne,
      If your house set in the woods like this, I don’t think a person wouldn’t even need air conditioning.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:52 am

  10. Ryan, I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I like the colors you’ve been using. They produce a subtle, muted, moody, beautiful painting. Lovely work.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:28 am

  11. Beautiful dark woods! And a light ahead! Brooding and soulful at the same time – love it!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm

  12. This is so good ! And so dark!What patience !

    April 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm

  13. Your art work is so good man…I wish i could do half as well or half of half. Great job.

    April 20, 2011 at 7:49 am

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