Sun on Creek
Ben H. Cummings | acrylics, 1975
Untitled by the artist, Sun on Creek is an excellent example of Ben Cummings' brilliant ability to present the plash of water and the play of light and shadow around it. The creek (if it is a real location) was probably located in the artist's home county in Northern California—although it may have been a construct of Cummings' boyhood memories.
The ripples of turbulent water below the falls, and the cool green depths of the downstream pool, all show Cummings' power in presenting the play of water. But notice also the hazy cobbled beach in the background. With the brightly-lit stones that break the stream's flow, it seems to shimmer in the sun's heat. Above the water-line, it's a hot Sonoma County summer's day; below, an icy chill waits for bare feet and rolled-up dungarees.
The bright flash in the center of the picture is an artifact of photographing the piece. The light blue area and the shadowed circle below the rapids, and slightly to the right of center, are reflections on the glass. None of these elements appear in the original artwork.
The work itself measures 18"x23"; in its frame, the entire work is 27"x32".