Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oct 11 - Memories of the Aspens

Last night was the last night in the cold and clear air high in the Arizona mountains, and I was completely alone (except for the three dogs), and enjoyed a solitude that allows for contemplation and choice-making. It was a fabulous night, as I placed the camper so I could look out the door and see the fire while my dinner of brats and garlic marinated mixed vegetables (in the foil) cooked over the open wood flames. I brought out my guitar, and ran through a couple songbooks, dogs for an audience, with the only harmony being the elk going about their own affairs in the distance. Company would have been nice...

I am home now, and easing back into the routines, including a ride with the neighbors to show them the newest trails behind our place. I'd only been back 45 minutes, and found myself up on the mare and heading out when they stopped by on their horses... one must have priorities!

Remember I said that the upper half of the diptych I did a few days ago needed clouds to assist the composition? Here it is below, completed. Now it and it's mate are hanging in the Joyous Lake Gallery for the month of October.

I'll have more paintings to share tomorrow, and the beginning of the bigger painting of the woods and picnic table--first the study, then the larger canvas--in stages. Thanks for joining me on the journey--now off to some much-needed sleep!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Oct 10 - Camp Site Experiences Make Good Paintings

One of the beauties of Hawley Lake, and of course of other lakes, is how the surface of the water changes from moment to moment. I started this 8 x 10 oil in late morning, looking from my campsite across to the cabins and distant, aspen-covered mountains. Before it was completed, the smooth reflections were gone, replaced by ripples and wind.

Done mostly with the cool box colors, the only time I went into the warms was for the sunlit rocks and the near shore. The contrast between that and the rest of the vista is what makes me think it works. All it needs now is a boat with a couple of fishermen. Later....

This photograph, taken from my camp site, is going to become my next large studio painting. I just fell in love with the idea of seeing a picnic table in the woods--in early morning light. The original source photo is not a square format, so I'm going to do a smaller, 12 x 12 acrylic to act as a study for the bigger work. The larger canvas may be a 30 x 40. I'm overdue for a BIG canvas, done in oils. I think I'll have to add a squirrel, since they were everywhere, too.

One of the greatest benefits of being in such a lovely place is the source material gathered for future works. Experiencing over time the actual colors and nuances of the "real" makes the "imaginary" paintings work later on. Hawley Lake, at 8,200 feet is perhaps one of the highest lakes in Arizona. This morning the wind was up, and yet it was warmer than the past couple of days. I'm sorry to leave this idyllic spot for lower elevations....

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Oct 9 - Still Painting in the Aspens of Arizona

Here's a "long drink of water" in the form of a diptych--two 12" square canvases, one above another, and painted on location at the Railroad Grade Trailhead near Sunrise Ski Area. It's an acrylic, and I had several people looking over my shoulder while I worked. I'm going to add some clouds to the canvas, as the composition will benefit from breaking up the sky area.

Using the acrylics in this REALLY dry air is tough--thank goodness for a spray bottle! I'm looking forward to working with the Golden Open Acrylics for challenges like these. But I do so love how they are finished so quickly, and it's hard to beat them for making texture in a painting.

On my way out of the campground this morning, I went off on one of many side roads along streams in the area. I took my camera, and thought you'd enjoy some of the beauty that is everywhere. Each bend in the road brings yet another "Arizona Highways" image to life. The camera really doesn't capture the true radiance of the foliage, so my brushes have to do the job!

Last night something large and heavy landed on the roof of the camper in the middle of the night, waking me and the dogs. Whatever it was, it walked around the roof for a while, then left. I don't know still if it was furry or feathered. However other wildlife was very close, with the elk bugling and the coyotes keeping company with yelps as I sat by the fire earlier in the evening. Soem of the other plein air artists came up for a campfire dinner, but most were gone by 8:30.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Oct 7 - Painting the Aspens in the High Country!

It just doesn't get much better.... Here on the Apache reservation in the White Mountains, surrounded by incredible clarity and beautiful aspens. This is the first full day of painting, and I took it for all it was worth! Driving up to highway 117 near the turnoff to Sunrise Ski Area, I saw this grove and decided to get right into it.
This is a 5 x 7 oil, the first one of the day, and I really do like the juxtaposition of the areas of color balanced by the calligraphic lines of the limbs and trunks. It fell off my brushes!

The cold last night was well below freezing, and I listened to the Canadian Geese flying. Tonight I go back to sleep under a bazillion stars in a deserted campground and listen again for the elk in the night. Wolves, too!

And of course Sparky and Onslow where lovin' it too, getting to romp in the field--with a new use for a big paint brush stake holding them just far enough from getting tangled in the setup. Yes, those color boxes did their duty today, and it was so much fun to take what was in front of me and punch it up with the Color System.

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