Thursday, July 5, 2012

Starting to get it

Rain Moving Across the Mountains,  5 1/2x8 pastel, copyright 2012

So this is how you paint mountains!  I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it now.  A strong contrast between light and shadow seems to be lot of the trick, at least if you really want the mountains to pop forward dramatically.  A bit more care in defining the highlighted snow helps.  And perhaps the much darker color of the paper makes a difference too, as I felt like I was using the color rather than trying to cover it up.

The most difficult part of this one was the foreground lake, which looked more like ice and snow than water.  It took a while, but I finally figured out that it was too light - lighter than the sky in fact, something which is generally only true for snow.  Painting choppy waters still eludes me a bit, though contrary to my pervious post I'm back to enjoying the smaller format.  Obviously I have yet to embrace the idea that these should be studies rather than finished paintings, but I just can't help myself, especially when it comes to painting the sky!

By the way, I'm still in Grand Teton National Park for this one.  If you ever find yourself in Yellowstone or Jackson Hole, it's worth a day trip to check out this park.  The mountains are amazingly picturesque and there are many lakes and rivers to reflect their images.  Not surprisingly, there are a number of plein air events and we spotted a few artists working away to capture a little piece of the grandeur.  I'd love to be able to join them someday.

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