I haven’t painted in a while, in large part because I haven’t felt inspired by the ideas in my head. There is a photo I have had in my recent photos that I’ve wanted to paint. The photo wasn’t great in terms of composition, but the memory of the scene was very strong. I remember this hillside at sunset as I was driving home, and I got a little turned around.  The hills felt exceptionally distant. The light was glancing off of the hillsides and sides of buildings. There was a haze of dust in the air, and everything was silent.

Unfortunately, I was trying to get home so I didn’t have much time to employ the scenery. That, and I’m still trying to get over this ridiculous fear I have of seeming weird by stopping and taking photos of beautiful scenes that I come across.

I sat on this photo for quite a while, and when I watched this video by Rick Surowicz, and I was inspired to try the image. I am not happy with the final result, but I am happy that I pushed through and tried.


I tried something new with a few of the trees, which I liked. I am not totally happy with the result, but there’s something there that I want to explore more. When I’m out driving around, I see trees on hills, and I see how they create a singular teardrop shape, with dark lines for branches. This was my attempt to paint what I see there. It’s part illustration, but I think I like the way it looks, even among a more realistic painting.

Shortly after finishing the painting, I received a book that I’ve been waiting on for a few weeks. “Texture Techniques for Winning Watercolors” by Ray Hendershot. In the first few pages he mentioned that many average paintings could be markedly improved by the addition of some subtle detail. So, I went back to the painting and tried to add some subtle detail. It’s not a huge change, but I do think I like the painting better with the added details. It’s still not what I would call a “successful” painting, but I really liked how the extra details gave love to some of the elements.

Between seeing the impact of those details, and exploring the idea of the stylized trees, there are things in this painting that I really want to explore in more depth.