"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Story of a painting

Rock of Ages at Jemez Pueblo, 8 x 10 watercolor, 140 lb. d'Arches cold press
Paintings, like writing, need to stew and brew for a while. This reddish sandstone formation caught my eye  in New Mexico a little over a year ago, and then I saw another photo of it taken by a UCO student.
I painted a small card in December and then last month another. You can see it at lower right. 
The stew is brewing, but takes more ingredients.
Value and composition sketches. Color experiments.
The maxim in watercolor is plan long, paint fast, and I usually don't take enough time planning, and paint too fast.
This time it was slow going both in planning, and in painting. I usually paint the sky first, but learned from this that I need to reverse the order because of the dark sky. But magic did happen in a few happy accidents here, and I gained some freedom and license in composition to move beyond the photographs.
I'm happy, but not satisfied with this, as it has been commissioned by a colleague, and will try again, reducing the foreground--which is usually my nemesis, and increasing and improving the sky. 
So the story will continue.

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