These are thee Upper Reedy River Falls, in Falls Park downtown, Greenville, South Carolina. The falls are actually about two or three times wider than my paintings imply, but I wanted to capture the immediacy of the girls looking up at the falls.
My first attempt show the full height of the falls. like the sense of scale and the horizontal lines of the upper rocks, but I thought it lacked visual punch. After looking at it a while, I decided that part of the problem was that the amount of area covered by medium value rock and the amount of high key fall are almost equal. Also the falls are almost dead center in the painting.
For my second attempt I came in closer and worked darker for greater contrast with the white water. I also reversed the image right to left, thereby clarifying the entrance to the painting. Finally I moved the falls to one side of the painting.
To create the falls themselves I used a lot of liquid mask. I began flipping tiny drops of mask onto the falls. Then I washed the area with highly diluted phthalo blue. When I removed the mask the area looked white, but the even whiter dots gave it some sparkle. Then I masked the white areas of the upper falls and began painting in the water and the rock behind it. I used burnt umber, burnt siena, raw sienna, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, and phthalo blue. I let the blues predominate. I worked much darker on Ring Side Seats II than I did on Ring Side Seats I.
After removing the mask, I continued working softening edges and adding paler washes.
I used the same palette for the rocks but emphasizing burnt sienna and raw sienna.