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.


1 comment:

Sylvia Jenstad said...

This is an amazing painting... the colours in the mountain... with that beautiful sky.... amazinq...