"Sanctuary" is a view of Houghton's Pond in Milton, MA. I painted it as a commission and a surprise, for the daughter of a friend (also a friend). Her partner (who I had not met) reached out to me to ask if I would paint this spot which is special to the two of them. He wanted to surprise her on their first anniversary. Of course I agreed; what a romantic gift! He sent me a few photos, and some guidance such as "the rock is very important".
Here are some process photos. I wanted the painting to convey the feeling of this special place, wooded, yet bright, secluded from the public and inviting. I loved the backlit photos I was provided. I began the painting with an orange and red underpainting, in anticipation of all the greens to come. You can see that I moved a couple of the trees around on the right side, to make the composition balanced, but asymmetrical.
I saved my lightest light for hint of clouds, and for the sun dappled onto a few of the leaves in the middle ground. The clouds are slightly neutralized and slightly cool, which leaves room for the leaves to stand out against the sky.
And, I designed the light to draw your eye to the right center, pulling you down across the surface of the rock, then along the light/shadow pattern on the ground, then up the trees, down the branches and back to the right center. The goal was to keep you engaged in this special place.
Turns out the surprise was a great success, and I got to meet the partner in person, and he's just as great as his gesture led me to believe he would be.
Thank you for looking. You know I love your comments.