It’s easy to be preoccupied during the pandemic and that may have been what happened with the above watercolor. I started with a light wash for the sky, then brushed in very thick ultramarine blue and burnt sienna for the background foliage, saving whites on the figures and nearest trees. Next I painted the sides of the trees with raw and burnt sienna and ultramarine, and then painted the figures, careful to save whites for the sunlit side.  Feeling good and listening to classical music, I quickly brushed in a mix of raw and burnt sienna to form the foreground weeds and then painted in shadows with a dark mix of all three colors.

But, oops! When I next looked at the painting, I quickly realized the shadows were going the “wrong way.”  The sun should hit the trees and figures and cast shadows on the opposite side–well, duh!.  You would think it would be a simple task, but I must admit this was not the first time I have messed up shadows while casually painting away. But a foreground problem is often fixable. The reason is this: overworking a foreground in a landscape is usually OK, though I am not sure exactly why.

So I scrubbed out the errant shadows, repainted the foreground, and put in new shadows.  The foreground weeds and new cast shadows actually looked quite good. Maybe this was turning into one of those happy accidents that we sometimes hear about.