Friday, February 05, 2010

"Cold Day on the Deschutes"

"Cold Day on the Deschutes" - Oil - 12" x 16"

"Last New Year's weekend, we were invited to Sun River,
Oregon. Though it was cold and overcast, the previous week's
snow was beautiful and the winter colors of the brush and
willows along the Deschutes river was lively. Have you ever
noticed how colors of flowers and foliage are frequently more
intense when the sky is overcast? Sometimes sunshine washes
color out. Just another reason to value each day!" --- SFG

The finished painting can be viewed at Art and Soul Gallery,
247 East Main Street, Ashland, Oregon, through May 3, 2010.


I forgot to take a picture after the drawing
stage of this demonstration, but I think you can see here
that I've laid in large shapes. I started with the dark trees
making sure that each tree was shaped differently from the
others. Thinking of gesture (what the tree is "doing") rather
than specific branches helps identifiy the species. I also sought variations of color, ranging from dark blue-green to dark
reddish-green to deep yellow-green. The foreground water is
indicated by the large dark and two lighter areas that are
reflections. I was careful to draw the top of the hillside as an
interesting line that intersected the tallest trees at different
points. Notice, too, how those are spaced differently, as well.
Composition at this stage is a primary concern.

Again, I was so deeply involved in the painting that I failed
to take photos of intermediate stages. So sorry. If you look
carefully, I've continued to design each shrub so that it
differs from any similar ones. For example, the red-orange
shrubs are masses that follow the rule of "dominant,
sub-dominant, and subordinate" or three different sizes. I used
the nearly horizontal bank of the river to counter so many
verticals in trees and the fallen log keeps that line from
carrying the viewer's eye out of the picture. Reflections add
some verticals to the water. I deliberately kept the value of
the sky dark enough that the snow would be the lightest area, as
it was in reality. The faint verticals of the dead or leafless
trees keep the eye moving through the work and their irregular
spacing adds rhythm.


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