Monday, December 21, 2009

Step by step

(Posted by Maggie)
I haven't been painting small paintings for a few weeks, as I've been working on several large paintings in a row. I thought it would be interesting to try to post a step-by-step sequence of this recent one. It's a complex subject (maybe sharing a studio with Bill got me interested in painting complexity!) but the way it developed is interesting, I think.

I worked on an 18x24 Richeson Premium Pastel surface, black, on Gatorfoam. It's one of my favorite surfaces. I love the richness of the color applied on the black, though there's a danger of getting the whole painting too dark. In one of the later steps, you'll see the background mountains lighten a little; that's when I realized they were too dark to recede properly.

What intrigued me about the subject was the contrast of those rocky cliff-like mountain sides against the aspen and scrub oak. The reference photo was taken high in the Sandia Mountains when we were hiking the La Luz Trail. These mountains have towering cliffs and rock formations of a unique rock (known as "Sandia Granite") which, though it may appear gray from a distance, has a wonderful variety of pinks, oranges, rust, brown and many other colors. I'm still not sure but what this painting isn't too busy, but the subject itself is very busy!

Above, High Country Fall, 18x24, pastel on black Richeson Pastel surface, © Maggie Price.

Painting the Deep Forest

(Posted by Bill)
I am often intrigued by heavily forested areas like this one. What fascinates me, among other things, is the sparkles of sunlight that filter through the trees here and there. The difficult part is the complexity of the trees, limbs, rocks, shrubs, dirt, etc. The photo I worked from, posted here below the painting image, shows you just how complex it was.

I always try to simplify, and usually find it difficult. But working on a small format, such as this 4x6 inch surface, forced me to simplify the subject. Now that I've done this, I think I'll try painting it again on a larger surface, and see if I can retain the simplicity without losing the sparkle of the light.

Above, Deep Forest, 4x6, pastel on Art Spectrum "supertooth" paper, © Bill Canright