From messy to refined. Style inspired by Jon Klassen's digital collaging look.
Visited the Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area around north Portland and saw a Great Blue Heron way off in the distance. I wanted to capture that moment of discovery, along with the misty, peaceful feel of the place. I especially wanted to include the red stick bushes near the walking path.
I scribbled a composition in Photoshop.
Using texture images I had on hand, I copied and pasted blocks of the image onto my canvas. with the lasso tool I cut rough tree and branch shapes and scribbled that red stick bushes. I played with the blending modes- I think these are "Overlay".
Used a softer palette for the background layers. Copied and inverted the trees to set them in the water. Lowered the opacity and drew eraser lines through the shapes to represent shimmer or waves.
More branches, more adjusting the blending more. More textured layers being fitted on top of shapes and sometimes colored with the burn, dodge, or multiply tool.
The file was getting big, so I began combining layers where I could.
I thought I was done at this point, but took a step back and thought things looked to busy. I was losing the "calm and peaceful" look I was going for.