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"On the Hot Springs Road"
(Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Oregon High Desert)
Oil Sketch on Centurian Linen Panel
with additional Coat of Rublev Lead Ground
4" x 6"
(Take further Note: the images and incidents herein occurred in December 2014.)
After completing the Oil Sketch in the last posting, it was lunchtime. While eating I studied the scene off to my left; somewhere down there was the Antelope Refuge Headquarters; probably behind the hill to the left and down on the flat. Poker Jim Ridge arose a few miles distant; the road from the Warner Valley comes up between it and the main ridge of Hart Mountain. Beyond Poker Jim Ridge the hills are lower and stretch away to the north, perhaps thirty miles or more, before losing themselves in the low cloud … not as far as Steens Mountain. The road goes from the Hot Springs to the Refuge HQ. For me part of painting or drawing is to impress upon my mind what I see, and to come to terms with the Landscape. The High Desert and the Mountains of the West are still new to me … even after the years I’ve been in Oregon, and probably will be for a long time to come, but every painting and drawing that I do teaches me more and more about this land.
And so in the afternoon, I worked on the above Oil Sketch with Poker Jim Ridge on the left and the plateau stretching away to the distant hills in the North … all of what you see is part of the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, save for the far distant hills beyond Poker Jim Ridge. And I have yet to see an antelope! I would, but not this day. I love these kinds of days, where there is a mixture of cloud and sun, thus casting shadows intermittently across the landscape. In a vast landscape such as this, these shadows help to break up the landscape, and add great interest to what could otherwise be a rather flat and two dimensional view, especially in the middle of the day; the cloud-shadows help to give a sense of distance. Absolutely blue clear-sky days have their own charm, but I really find them best when I am within a forest and need the light to see to paint, or if I am doing something other than painting, and the temperature is not too hot, being a cool weather chap. A case in point would a pristine clear day in April, many years ago in Toronto, and the blue sky seemed to go on forever and ever, and the temperature was in the sixties Fahrenheit; I will never forget that morning. But I digress.
As I finished working for the day, a mini-blizzard blew in from the South, lasting 45 minutes, and reducing visibility to a hundred yards or so, after having a 40 mile view just minutes before! T’was perfect timing, as I scribed my Monogram to the sketch. A couple in a car passed me towards the Hot Springs as the mini-blizzard began, and were over by the Springs as I came down the hill towards my campsite. They did not remain the night; maybe they were from the HQ. The accumulation was about a half an inch, and abated as I began to prepare supper in the twilight. And so another day … a good day absorbing the landscape … came to an end.
Imprimatura: Venetian Red.
The Pigments used were: Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna, Lead White #2 & Flemish Lead White, with Winsor & Newton Cobalt & Cerulean Blues and Venetian Red.