"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.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Back roads blues

"Lonely," 11 x 17 watercolor, 140 lb Fabriano Artistico extra white cold press paper
Back roads beckon me in these deepening, depressing  days of pandemic viruses, racism and political chaos.
But other than short trips in central Oklahoma, they seem almost out of reach. I yearn for the wide open spaces, rural roads with almost no traffic for miles, in Oklahoma, Texas or New Mexico, alas.
Every painting has at least one story, and indeed, instead of painting a subject, I try to paint a story, a hint of a story, as another artist advised. 
Another teacher of mine advised to paint an "art word," not a subject. Not a barn, but "decaying," for instance. That leads what still another artist wrote, to paint what you "feel." My art word for this one was "lonely."
Today's quick painting came out of those back road blues I'm going through. this is out of my imagination, my yearning for the open spaces, trying to capture the mystery, the discovery around the next been, out in the country where you can breathe, see the sky and the far horizons.
Details: another painting of complementary colors--blues and oranges. Only three brushes--two inch and one inch flat, and a small round. 
After a sketched value study--dark, medium and light then wet into wet, paper soaked, largest brush, raw sienna over everything, then orange over most of the top half of the paper, then second brush, ultramarine blue and burnt sienna for clouds.
When almost dry, a little magenta-cobalt blue for most distant landscape. Then overlay next mesa with ultramarine and orange for brownish color. Next closest mesa, ultramarine and burnt sienna with more water for blue color. Finally, foreground of thick ultramarine and burnt sienna. Using same brush, the yucca. Small brush to add detail on distant road, and  sign it.
This is the largest I've attempted in a long while and was done without worrying, loosely in a hurry, on the back of a ruined painting, on the back porch in plein air, an 11" by 17" sheet of Fabriano Artistico extra white cold press paper. 
This is why painting helps me survive another day of pandemic and back roads bluse. 

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