Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thunderstorm at sunset

On numerous occasions I've witnessed something in nature that is so spectacular in person, that as an artist I think that would make a great painting, except it will look too unbelievable in oil point.  The colors are too amazing, or the scale, or something so dramatic that the essence cant be communicated thru painting without looking as if its fabricated. That was the case with the thunderstorm that we had a few weeks ago, right as the sun was setting.

This is a large painting 24x28. I choose a near square proportion because it made the subject feel heavy, ominous.  The reference photos were shot standing on our deck looking south.  There is beauty everywhere in nature. Sometimes one needs to look closely, and sometimes you just need to stop gawking long enough to grab the camera. I shot about 115 photos over 35 minutes, the color kept changing becoming more dramatic.  After 35 minutes the scene was still fantastic, dark clouds with lightning every few seconds, but there wasn't enough light for my camera skills.

Here are some of my preliminary studies, drawing, color and value work.

Details. While working this is the view I see thru most of the process. About 12" from the paining surface. I always hope that when people see my finished paintings that they will look closely at the details, and appreciate the abstract qualities. As well as the view from across the room seeing the whole.

One more image to add to this post. Is this cactus to crazy fantastic to paint? Saguaro cactus info...The saguaro cactus grows as a column at a very slow rate, with all growth occurring at the tip, or top of the cactus. It can take 10 years for a saguaro cactus to reach 1 inch in height. By 70 years of age, a saguaro cactus can reach 6 and a half feet tall, and will finally start to produce their first flowers. By 95-100 years in age, a saguaro cactus can reach a height of 15-16 feet, and could start to produce its first arm. By 200 years old, the saguaro cactus has reached its full height, reaching upwards of 45 feet tall. Some saguaros have been seen with dozens of arms, while other cactus never produce a single one. Why this happens remains one of the desert’s mysteries.
Thunderstorm at sunset. 24x28