A couple weeks ago I was in the San Juan Islands where there are many places like the headland in this painting. What made this spot a little special for me was the light shining through the trees, essentially blurring the edges and drawing the eye. But achieving this look can be tricky.

Here is the technique I used:  first brush in a light sky, then quickly begin painting the very dark headland;  while the sky and land form are still wet, take a “swipe” with a damp brush from the sky right into the tree area. If done quickly enough you will soften and “lose” some edges, suggesting the effect of brilliant light. If you waited too long, the land form has dried and you will not be able to soften the edge. No worries if you cannot do this the first time. You may be able to re-wet the entire sky and land forms and try again, which is what I did here!

The remainder of this painting was completed in mid-tones. The earth-color palette consisted of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, cerulean blue, and raw sienna.