Monday, January 19, 2015

Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon in Tucson Arizona, has some fantastic hiking and beautiful views of the Sonora desert.

Recently, I sent an image of this in-progress painting of Sabino Canyon to a friend who was planning to hike Bear Trail to 7 Falls the next day.  The following evening we were talking, when he said he didn't reconize the spot on the trail from the painting. I explained that the painting isn't a documentation of the location, it's more an impression of the experience of the day. Sometimes I do try to reproduce a landmark to a point that others will recognize as in my painting of Cathedral Rock. 
Even when I'm attempting to faithfully reproduce the scene, I'm still painting an impression based on my experience.  If you Google images of Cathedral Rock you will find many great photos, but probably not one from the location that I painted. And when you see my personal photos, you'll see that the painting isn't a copy of the photo. There are elements and patterns and sometimes colors that are represented, but not always. My paintings are abstract personal impressions. It is satisfying to hear someone say that the painting captures the experience that they had when they were there.

As usual I start digitally, roughing out basic value and color studies.

Next comes a color study in oils. This is about 10" wide.

The final. 26x18

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rib mountain morning

This is a 2nd painting inspired from our visit to Rib Mountain State Park this past fall.

Our morning hike started with heavy fog, and although muted, the fall colors were still on display.

As the time passed the fog slowly thinned revealing more vibrant color.

With my limited photography skills I wasn't able to capture the view of the fog burning away and the filtered sun warming the air.  Instead this photo appears to be later in the day.

Trying to capture the mood and color digitally. This is an exercise in thinking through the process, searching for the right light, color and mood.

A couple other examples of photo reference shot last summer near home, helped me remember the color of the sky from that morning.

Color studies completed in my sketch book.

The finish 14 x 22.

I've been experimenting with different painting surfaces. This was painted on Multimedia Artboard.  The marketing describes it this way, 
Multimedia Artboard accepts both oil and water-based paints without buckling or warping. A new formulation of artboard, it is made with paper and thermal-set epoxy resin, allowing media to adhere to the surface without penetration. Whatever media you are using holds a definite edge, with no bleed.
The surface can be erased, scraped, and sanded, and both front and back are usable surfaces (one side is smoother than the other). Multimedia Artboard is laboratory-tested and is rated archival quality, with a neutral pH factor of 6.5. Boards are 1/32" (approximately 0.8 mm) thick.

I find that oils can slide across acrylic gesso when applied with bristle brushes. Sometimes I like the feel and results, but lately I've been searching for a slightly more absorbent surface.  The Multimedia Artboard is slightly more absorbent. To me it feels as if the oil paint sticks ever so slightly, and is pulled off the brush. I plan to use it for more paintings.