Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Drive to Canyon Lake

Last week I drove out to Canyon Lake. Its a winding, mountainous road with lots of hills and potholes as you get closer to the lake. Not very fun to drive and you can't really look at all the great scenery while driving (you don't want to take your eyes off the road for even a second). I stopped at nearly all of the pull-off areas I saw just so I could take lots of pictures. The sun was getting low in the sky, creating lots of good shadows.

I started working on a new painting, referencing some of the photos I took.

I painted a quick 5x7 inch study first, to test the composition, values and colors. I'm trying some new things with my composition and lighting in this painting. One of the things I have sort of neglected in my landscape paintings is using shadow as part of my composition. I had a discussion with a gallery owner in Scottsdale and he gave me a lot of good pointers. Peter, if you are reading this, thanks. That was the kick up the rear I needed!

So here I have the foreground entirely in shadow, and a good portion of the background hills/rocks are in shadow as well.

Next I took a 10x14 inch canvas (I stretch them myself) which had been toned with a mix Burnt Sienna and Cadmium Red. After sketching out the basic composition with thinner, Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue, I began applying some thicker paint.

My palette here is (Old Holland oils) Flake White #1, Naples Yellow Deep, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red Medium, Burnt Sienna, Green Earth, Ultramarine Blue. I also used a little bit of Malachite from Daniel Smith. It's a really nice color, sort of like a cool kind of emerald. I figured it would be a nice color for the brittlebushes in the shadowed foreground.

Yesterday I quickly sketched in the foreground. I'm pretty happy so far with the overall colors and values, so over the next few days I will refine shapes and add more detail.

Today I worked some more on the foreground and some minor adjustments everywhere else. I think I'm going to start another painting now and come back to this one next week, with a fresh eye. Maybe I'll do a little bit of glazing.

I almost forgot to post another song too. Some folks like to get away... I think I could use a vacation.

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