Thursday, August 01, 2013

"Rocky Mountain Retreat" ©

Last month driving to Leadville Colorado in the Rocky Mountains we came across this view.  The spot seemed so perfectly peaceful, accented by a few squirrels and birds I knew I wanted to paint it.  It has been a while since I posted my process and so with this painting I took a few shots as I went along.  You can enjoy my struggle, along with me.  

The canvas size is 18" x 24".  At this point I am just locating the various elements and deciding on value patterns and placement.  I prefer to work on a white canvas so that any of the lighter values are as clean and bright as possible, allowing the canvas to contribute to the success of the piece in the end.  The paint is very thin and I am using mostly transparent paint.  Rembrandt and Gamblin manufacture my favorite transparent oil colors.

At this point I have paint all over the canvas.  I have located my darks and lights and decided that the main focal area will be the sandy beach and the secondary focal area will be the distant mountain, bouncing the viewer between the two with little side trips into the trees.  

Now that the canvas is covered and I have all the different elements figured out I need to start really finessing the paint quality and placement.  What I am going after is a variety of brushwork, edges and areas of the painting making sure that every move supports the main idea and that particular element that I am painting.  I had difficulty painting under studio lights so I painted the rest of the painting outside in natural light.  That is something that might be helpful to artists, take your painting outside and look at it, up close and from 20 feet away.  Critiquing is much easier and you will spot issues that had eluded you inside.  Another reason plein air painting is so wonderful.  

Here is the finished painting.  After the paint sets up a bit I'll go in and tighten some edges and make changes in anything that calls out to me.  Another advantage of oil paint is the ease in which you can alter the painting whenever you chose.  

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