#58: Morning Reflection

#58: Morning Reflections (Oil on Canvas on Panel)
#58: Morning Reflections (Oil on Canvas on Panel)

This small study is my first attempt at depicting a mood around a shallow puddle that I pass each day on my morning walk. A photo of the actual puddle is shown below, with my initial charcoal study and the partially completed painting.

The photo above has a terrible reflective glare in it – the painting looks slightly better.

In the morning when my wife and I walk past this, often there is frost on the ground and some ducks or Pukeko are gathered in the area around the water (it is not big or deep enough to dive in, but I think the marsh area is rich in food for them).


The sharp reflection of the sky in this small patch of water is striking – especially in the early morning with frost on the ground.The two images below show my first concept, which was darker with a more stark value range. The painting turned out too warm and light for my taste, but I will have another go at it soon.

As we pass the ducks and Pukeko in their frosty early morning rituals, I often try to recall a Zen poem about a duck on a frozen pond. This evening I hunted the poem down, it is by the 12th century poet Fujiwara No Teika:

You who fail to think
on the transience of things,
listen: do you hear,
in that far mountain village,
a duck cries on the frozen pond?

from The Poetry of Zen by Sam Hamill and J.P. Seaton

Thanks to all who have encouraged me in my journey to become a better painter and person. I hope you are happy and content.

13 thoughts on “#58: Morning Reflection

  1. I love how you gather from life. from your daily morning strolls, a puddle.
    And then reform and recreate the design to suit how you want to express it. That is absolutely wonderful! Also, the zen poem as a partner is brilliant. 🙂 cheers, Debi

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is amazing!!! I have a very similar photo of a puddle with beautiful sunset-sky reflections in it. Been wanting to paint it for ages but I’ve been afraid it would come out too “flat.” So I really like how you suggested depth in this scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Fibronbacci, glad to hear you liked it. I know what you mean about getting the depth right, it is a devil of a challenge in such a cropped scene. We have to keen on trying though? As T.S Eliot said (paraphrase): “We are only undefeated because we keep on trying”. Upward and onward!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a very interesting new direction for your paintings. It’s so rich with possibility. As always, it’s fascinating to learn the story behind the making of the picture. Not sure how large these drawings are, but I think you’ll find that making drawings that are closer to the scale of the paintings will help you further develop the ideas as well as the emotion. It’s a complex step beyond the thumbnail idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aletha! The charcoal drawings are actually larger – about A3 size. This particular painting is quite small, I think 10 x 8 inches (I sometimes forget to measure them and then I am too lazy to go out in the dark to my studio to measure up!). Indeed it is a complex step behind the thumbnail idea. I find getting the values right is fairly easy, but I am hamstrung when it comes to colours. It either turns out too muddy or too “pretty and colorful”. By the time I reach painting #739, I may hit that sweet spot inbetween!

      Liked by 1 person

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