“Afternoon Light on the Keep”
(Valley of the Gods, Utah)
Oil Sketch on Centurion Oil Primed Linen Panel
5” x 7”
In the afternoon, after painting Battleship Butte in the morning, I moved a few yards away turned 90 degrees towards the North and painted the afternoon light as it bounced and reflected between the rock formations. I couldn’t find a name for this butte on my maps, so I’m calling it the Keep since it reminds me of many of those Norman castles I saw in England standing on their mottes, or mounds, especially from this direction. After laying down an imprimatura of Venetian Red, I drew in the design with a brush using Cobalt Blue; I might have used Ultramarine to do this, but at this point I hadn’t decided that Ultramarine would be on the palette. I laid in the sky with Cobalt Blue, mixing in a little Cerulean as I worked down towards the horizon; the pink in the lower reachs of the sky is the imprimatura affecting the thinly painted blues layered over it. I am especially pleased with the complementary contrasts of the earth red pigments and the mixed greens of the Sage & Rabbit Brush. For the greens I mostly mixed Cobalt and/or Cerulean Blues with Yellow Ochre; for some darker passages I added a touch of Ultramarine. The red earth was a base of Venetian Red mixed with Naples Yellow (hue) or Yellow Ochre and Cremnitz White in the light values, and with Cobalt Blue in the darker passages; Cadmium Red Pale and Vermilion are also mixed in or applied in discreet touches where necessary to add a bit more heat and glow.
The imprimatura was Venetian Red; the palette consisted of Yellow Ochre, Venetian Red, Cobalt & Cerulean Blues [with Ultramarine playing a lesser role], Naples Yellow (hue), Cadmium Red Pale, Vermilion, and Cremnitz White; all by Winsor & Newton. Naples Yellow (hue) is a convenience colour, which I find useful. I also have Genuine Naples Yellow by Vasari, but it is a brighter pigment than the Naples Yellow (hue), and so I use that for different purposes.