Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Morning Magic"

"Morning Magic" - Oil - 8" x 10" - SOLD

"Color in shadow can be surprising and delightful. Here, at Arroyo Hondo near Taos, New Mexico, I enjoyed the shadow color as much as the light." --- SFG
Work in progress...

This morning's painting will be a small 8" x 10" of cliffs at Arroyo Hondo, near Toas, New Mexico. My reference photo offers a lot of possibilities.

I have pre-mixed my colors to get some of those wonderfully vibrant warm and cool colors in the shadows of the rock. I will start with the #12 brush shown (even on an 8" x 10" ).

I've drawn in my composition and at this point I've become pretty excited about this subject. It will be a lot of fun distributing those colors I've mixed across the work, putting them in the right place. I fairly well defined the shapes in the bluff, even though I'll be painting beyond the shapes, generalizing and redrawing throughout the work.

I started with the darks in the shadows of the bluff and the foreground shapes. Every shape you put down is a process of drawing. I consider the drawing stage, since I'm going to cover up all those lines, to be training the artist's memory. Because I will be painting beyond the edges of the shapes, I will be concentrating on where those shapes join, how soft the edges are and how detail will fit in at the end.

I've cooled the slope on the left a good deal to make it recede, but kept it darker than the foreground surface. The warmth of the foreground color sets the areas further apart, as well. I'm still using that #12 brush.

Now, I've added the curlean sky typical of the area and started the mid-tones in light of the bluff that catch the grazing light of morning. I've still left enough value range to add those spectacular areas that glow. The blue notes in the foreground are to remind me that some of the sky's color is naturally present in the ground color. From the thickness of the paint, you can tell that I'm applying it directly and paying attention to paint quality.

Finally, I've switched to a #8 brush. I've returned to each area, especially the shadow area to work the warms and cools of its surface. I've adjusted the intensity of the slope on the left and added some green of the vegitation there. Softening the top edge, helps it roll back rather than looking cut and pasted to the sky. I added the cloud, carefully assessing its value in relation to the other lights in the painting.
When working on the lit areas of the bluff, I painted more temperature changes in the midtones. After I had these value relationships established, I used the darker darks in the shadows to define the contours of the fractured stone. Note that they are still warm in color because the light bounces around within those areas and the redder wave lengths survive. If I had used a cooler color, the temperature key would be off and the whole area deadened. For some of the finer lines, I picked up a #4 brush. By making choices of which darker areas and lines to draw, I'm creating rhythm, design and interest.

I'm nearly there. I've better described the foreground rocks and added interest to the ground plane.


Deb Kirkeeide said...

Beautiful painting Susan. The colors especially. I enjoyed reading about your process. Thanks!

PAT MEYER -- said...

Just stunning. The colors glow and it is so sweet of you to share the progress of how you painted it.