Monday, February 08, 2010

Along Valley Walls

"Along Valley Walls"
12" X 24" Oil on canvas
Going wide again...this is a 12"x24" painting. I like the wide format for landscapes and was glad to pick up some more of these canvases when they were on sale. Bonus! The mountains along the valley here have lots of big granite rocks exposed along their sides. More so on the Santa Barbara or coastal side of the mountains. These big rocks give a nice sense of scale to the mountains and hint at what lies underneath the scrub foliage. Normally I like painting dry grasses for their great ochre colors but it's Winter here and so I just plowed away with green grasses without thinking about it. Maybe I'll do another one of these with my favorite grasses.
I'm pretty happy with the rocks on this one. I'm normally not the big time rock painter but I'm getting more confident with them. When I paint a scene like this one I usually just paint the whole scene and then go in and wipe out the areas the rocks will be in. Then I make up a dark mix or grey blues and paint in the lower and shadowed parts of the rocks. Then I paint in the highlighted areas which is usually the tops and front side...which here is the right side of the rocks. Artist Frank Serrano has a book called "Plein Air Painting In Oil", a Walter Foster book, and he has a good demo of painting rocks in it...very simple method. Actually, that's a great little book and if you can get your hands on it you'll enjoy it.

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