"Morning, Waipu River" 12x9" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson

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Got out painting again this morning in the crisp winter air and painted this, one of my favorite local scenes just 5 minutes drive from my house. In the background is our famous Mt Manaia. It's always a real challenge painting looking into the light or 'Contre-jour' (french term meaning 'against the daylight'). Our pupils close down and make everything appear much darker, so you have to take constant furtive glances rather than long speculative looks.

I also was careful to compare all my initial dark values with the value scale taped to my easel, making sure my darkest dark was a couple of steps away from black and saving my lightest light not for the sky but for the glistening sun reflecting off the river.

Colour tends to get bleached out of the scene with contre-jour scenes and you find your strongest colour in rim lights and translucent subjects like grass verges and foliage edges. The light effectively turns these objects into stained glass windows and with everything glistening in morning dew you could be forgiven for thinking you are indeed in a hallowed place trimmed with a million precious jewels. Are we lucky or what?

Happy painting everyone.


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Comment by cynthia croft on March 24, 2014 at 21:10

Hi Richard


I really like this painting and am enjoying my painting even more since I have followed your instructions. You are a great teacher ...many thanks from a keen student who has just begun painting. I love using watercolour and through your instruction am looking at everything with new eyes. Thank you very much for what you are sharing with us. All the best from Australia.

Comment by debbie piro on June 17, 2012 at 12:52

I really like this one Richard. I wish I could paint just like you. I will keep doing your classes as I'm learning so much. Keep up the Great work as your an inspiration to us all.


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