Anatomy of “Riley’s Lock in October”

My preference is always to work from life on location. There is something very exciting, albeit challenging, working on location. The sights, sounds and smells is a full sensory experience. So how do you re-create that same experience working in the studio? I don’t think you can or really need to. Ideally you should have a sketch and notes to remind you of exactly what it was that drew you to this spot. Working strictly from a photograph is always more of a challenge for me but if the reference photo has the essential information with good light, sufficient detail and the most important element is your memory. Try to remember the “moment” you saw this scene and why it inspired you.

This is the first study that I did on location at the aqueduct “Lock 24 Riley and Seneca Aqueduct” ‐ Oil on Linen ‐ (11 x 14). this lock is actually located on Seneca Creek which connects to the Potomac River. The little creek crosses under the aqueduct which is once part of the C&O Canal. It caught my eye right away. Completed in one sitting and a little touch up at home.

The second painting in this area that I wanted to paint was looking out from the top of the aqueduct. There is a very dramatic perspective from above. The trees were absolutely gorgeous and the vivid colors of the leaves and the pattern of the leaves that fell in the water were also very intriguing. One week later the painting completely changed. All the leaves have fallen and It was a completely different scene.

So this painting will be painted in the studio from my memory of the beautiful fall colors and a photo reference.

Various block in stages. Keeping the forms suggestive thin layers of paint like a watercolor.

“Riley’s Lock in October” oil on linen (16×20)

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