Through the Chaparral (18” x 24”)
What follows are my daily thoughts as I worked on the painting above over the course of fifteen days in August 2017. The time frame for being able to work with the light conditions seen in the painting was roughly 10 minutes each evening, from when the foreground went into shadow until the sunlight left the further hills.
Day 1, August 16th, 7:21-7:36pm, 15 min
Committing to something new; larger, uncertain. (Remember to take progress shots.)
Day 2, August 17, 7:23-7:31pm, 8 min
There's only about a ten minute window from when the foreground goes into shadow until the farther mountain does too, and the day ends. If there's light on the lower right sagebrush in the foreground, it's still on my easel too.
Day 3, August 18, 7:22-7:32pm, 10 min
The shadows of sunset
Slowly slide away
Snakelike over the slopes.
Rattlesnakes are nature's alarm clocks. Time to wrap it up for today.
Day 4, August 20, 7:22-7:32pm, 10 min
Painters often talk about editing or moving elements around in their painting to create a better composition. I found the yucca stalk at left laying in the bushes and carried it to the spot I wanted it in. (I have to readjust it each day because it falls over.) The yucca anchors the painting.
Day 5, August 21, 7:22-7:34pm, 12 min
Being an artist is merely continuing to do things your brain tells you are illogical: paint in 110 degree heat, leave a gallery, continue to work when you meet with little success.
A coyote howling in the adjacent wash.
Day 6, August 22, 7:20-7:34pm, 14 min
Rendering a thing to look just like that thing is not what I'm after; rendering a thing in unity with a picture is a tougher goal. Art is what you make of it. Cohesion.
Large group of crows gathering and circling to the west.
Day 7, August 23, 7:18-7:34pm, 16 min
Don't allow comparisons while you work; think only of your own work and allow yourself your own expression.
Day 8: August 24, 7:20-7:30pm, 10 min
Hazy, soft. More work on foreground. Sometimes local horses and riders pass by in the evenings. A dog walker with three dogs.
Day 9: August 25, 7:20-7:32pm, 12 min
Allergies kept me from too much progress. Covered the rest of foreground. Still working slowly through, looking at how the edges of color masses relate to one another. That's the whole of painting.
Day 10: August 26, 7:18-7:25pm, 7 min
Hot day today, still feel it in the evening. Some work on the mountains, the light left earlier tonight.
Day 11: August 27, 7:18-7:25pm, 7 min
Another hot day, another round of bad allergies. Ugh. The left side of the painting is starting to work together, but the right needs some help. Little progress.
Day 12: August 28, 7:15-7:25pm, 10 min
Continuing the heat, sweltering even at dusk. Have been seeing thin smooth passages in the dirt perpendicular to the trail, maybe snakes crossing, at night or when it's cooler. The discarded yucca leaves on the trail resemble these patterns. Starting to notice my daylight ending earlier.
Day 13: August 29, 7:15-7:25pm, 10 min
The heat is unrelenting, but the colors at the end of the day are sublime.
Day 14: August 30, 7:15-7:25pm, 10 min
I can see the finished piece, it's close. Sometimes the colors we think are intense are actually quite gray.
Day 15: Sept 5, 6:58-7:13pm, 15 min
The shortening days and changing seasons are quite obvious when you look at them often. I have seen that over the course of this painting.
Every so often I'll change up the featured painting seen here. The idea is to give a little insight into why I painted something, of what I'm searching for in a particular piece.
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