Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Desert Nocturne

High Desert Nocturne
16"x20" Oil on Canvas

I painted this nocturne of the high desert here in California about 4 years ago I think. At the time I was really painting a lot of nocturnes. I think desert nocturnes have a really cool look to them....reminds me of going to see a Remington show at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in Griffith Park back in the mid 90's with my Dad. There were some Remington nocturnes there and it was really impressive to see them up close. Since then when I think of nocturnes I usually think of that show first. I've seen nocturnes by Charles Rollo Peters which were pretty awesome to see in person. He painted the mission here in town, Mission Santa Ynez....a beautiful nocturne scene.

This painting was really a daytime scene since I have no photos of the California high desert at night. I just used artist license and turned it into a nocturne. If I repainted this scene today there are totally some changes that I would make, softening the edges on everything for one. Night time makes all things have blurred soft edges and so that is one thing I'd change now. Another I think would be to have less detail in the plants of the foreground. They were there in the daytime scene but at night a lot of detail would get lost with the dark so I'd change that part too. Looks good in the frame here and I won't go back at this one to make any corrections. It's all up in the brain and will be used in new works.     

5 comments:

Dianne said...

The desert is magic at night, you've caught it beautifully. Definitely the southern California desert with those Joshua Trees. And you did it "Day for Night," too.

Mick Carney said...

Delightful colours and subtle shifts in value. Lovely.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Dianne - You see a lot of the Joshua trees as you cross Pearblossom Hwy from the 14 over to 15 at Hesperia...and off course there is always Joshua Tree National Monument, zillions of them there. Fun to paint! Thanks.

Hi Mick - Yep, keeping the values close together is king at night. Fun way to play with values. There is lots of room for improvement in this one though but I still like the look of it. I can see some old, worn out, dusty and very thirsty miner leading his mule to the gold or silver! Yahooooo! Thanks Mick.

rod hillen said...

This is really nicely done. I don't think you need to soften it up. the values at night are so close together, it makes it harder to distinguish between shapes. I find it difficult to translate the reality into a visual expression because the sensitivity of the eye is much greater than what can be applied with paint. Overcoming this oddity gives you some leeway in your decision making. You have really captured the feeling of night quite well. This is an excellent nocturne.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Rod,
Thanks a lot for the good words and observations on the painting. Nocturnes are lots of fun and really give the eye a good workout. I haven't done one lately due to other commitments but am always thinking about them. I'm glad you like the results of this one. It is my favorite nocturne so far. The high desert is always fun to paint and nocturnes of the high desert are something I want to do more of. Thanks!