36" x 48", oil on wood panel, 2017, private collection
This commissioned piece features one of the boys in the canoe in Life Jackets (his brother, Gus, got his own commissioned painting featuring him diving off a dock).
The challenge here beyond capturing the likeness and pose was making the underwater effects look convincing. His hair (actually a deep dark mass) looks like it's sparkly or something, but that's just the shiny paint catching reflections -a side-effect of the way I paint and the crisscross textures my surfaces have.
Skin and reflections.
No point in working on the background water effects if I get the skin wrong here, so, putting that off a bit, I continued rendering the shadows and reflections from the pool's surface onto Reed. I decided not to tint him a cool blue shade so he would contrast more warmly with the cold blue water.
The reflections on the pool's floor were done freehand, trying to look as natural and irregular as possible, trying to avoid a grid- or web-like pattern. Super white highlights at some of the intersections help to sell the effect.