Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Summit, Trinity Wilderness Area"

"Summit, Trinity Wilderness Area" - Oil - 14" x 11" - NFS

"Our annual trip to the Trinity Wilderness Area is one of the highlights of the year. This view is of the east slope of the white granite range so obvious in that area. This uplift is always uplifting!" --- SFG

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Wilderness Meadow"

"Wilderness Meadow" - Oil - 12" x 16" - NFS

"While visiting a friend's cabin in the Trinity Wilderness Area in northern California, I painted a series of works depicting its fabulous scenery. This view is of the meadow just north of the cabin, where they mill the trees from their property for use in building on site. The dry creek in the foreground is the headwater of the Salmon River." --- SFG

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Arroyo Hondo Morning"

"Arroyo Hondo Morning" - Oil - 30" x 36" - $3800

"Near Taos, Arroyo Hondo has all the best of the area when you visit on a spring day... those layers of colored rock poured from God's bucket, shimmering cerulean skies, and the swollen river that attracts sportsmen, drawn, perhaps unconsciously, to the beauty surrounding them." --- SFG

Work in progress...

You'll see in this series of photos of the drawing stage that I am being more careful than usual with the drawing. Since this is a commission of a specific location, I am going for more accuracy in order to present the site as it is. I started with placement of the bridge, paying attention to these horizontals and how they divide the canvas.

I'm doing a lot of measuring, checking horizonals and verticals to see what's above or below what, to see whether a point is halfway up, a third of the way up, and so on. As I worked, I realized that one of the trees was landing smack dab in the middle of the canvas. You can see faintly, where I placed it originally, and then moved it to the left.

As I drew in the complicated shapes, I worked more as I would in a charcoal drawing and shaded each smaller area to make myself more aware of its value (degree of light or dark) in the composition. When I start painting, I must preserve the big mass of the bluff in shade behind the trees and the bridge, and also describe the intricate pattern of the shapes within that shadowed area. Careful control of value and temperature will accomplish that.

Because this is a larger canvas, I must be more deliberate, not as impulsive and wild as usual, because it's easier to lose the overall placement that I've worked so hard to verify. Since the shapes are large, I can still vent my energy within them.

I started with the darkest area in the shadowed bluff and related all the other colors and values to it. I want the shadow to read as a whole, but with color variation within it that delights.

Also, I connected the other shadow areas like the shadow side of the large tree on the lefthand edge and the cast shadow that leads down to the water.

Similarly, I must make the lighted areas of the scene connect and relate in value to each other.


"Arroyo Hondo Morning" (cont'd)

Lastly, for this stage of the painting, I put in the lightest areas, such as the newly leafed springtime trees, the horizonal slope at the top of the bluff with its distant trees, the light-reflecting water, and the sky. Once these are correctly related -- I've spent the most time on this aspect of the painting -- all I have to do is correct anything that's not quite right.

As you can see, my palette is a mess. The only color I premixed was the first shadow color of the bluff. (It's still on the palette knife.) From that all-important starting point, I mixed each of the shadow colors, usually with some of the original color in it. You can also see the dark greens and blues of the shadow areas of the lefthand tree. When I was ready to do the lighted areas, by mixing next to a previous color, I could better judge the temperature and value of the new color. A good example are the yellow-greens on the upper right edge of the mixing pile.

For some of the lightest tones, I plopped some white in the middle of a pile of the darks in order to mix near the light tones just to the left. Then I adjusted the white with the yellows I added in the middle of the pile. Most importantly, I had enough paint there that I could mix and load the brush with plenty of color. Remember, load that brush!

By now, I'm elaborating on the shoreline, trees, and the pattern of cracks and highlights on the bluff.

And I'm correcting and adding detail to the bridge and detail to both the light and shadow areas of the bluff.

I kept the painting around the studio and made some changes. I added a dark area to the water, lightened the shadow side of the foreground rocks and gave more depth to the yellow trees. I'm pleased with the end result, but the photo was in warmer light. Will correct ASAP.