Saturday, July 19, 2014

First Oil Sketch of the Journey

“Autumn Cottonwoods”
(San Juan Mountains, Colorado Rockies)
Oil Sketch on Ampersand Gesso Panel
4” x 6”

I left Oklahoma at 23:30 on September 29th last year and headed for Salida, Colorado, via Tucumcari, New Mexico; for those Spaghetti Western buffs out there, Tucumcari is where Lee Van Cleef gets of the train at the beginning of, “For a Few Dollars More.”  Thus began my meandering route back to Oregon from Oklahoma where I had been staying with family for a while.  I then spent 4 lovely days in Salida, Colorado visiting old friends Dan & Lee, and Edgrrrrr the dog (Edgrrrrr actually has a grin when greeting one he likes … a bit toothie, but a grin nevertheless).  Dan & I graduated from High School together, back in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and in another century (do you hear those creaking bones?).   This Oil Sketch was painted back on October 5th after leaving Salida.  The golds & russets of Autumn were stunning, especially when set against the deep forest greens of pine and fir covered slopes, as I made my way through intermittent snow-showers in the San Juan Mountains, and over the Monarch Pass, at somewhat over eleven thousand feet (if I remember correctly).  Later after passing through Gunnison and turning South on Hwy 149, I spotted a forest road leading to the Powderhorn Lakes Trailhead and setup my first camp some miles down that road.  A lovely clear night and the temperature dropped into the teens (Fahrenheit), but it was a dry cold and I remained toastie in my sleeping bags.  The next morning I painted this Oil sketch, the first of the Journey; the inaugural work for those to come.

Sometimes there is a fine line between a Sketch, and those deemed to be what I would call a Painting.  Usually it’s a matter of completeness, meaning good Design, or Composition, Value & Colour, and perhaps surface finish that causes a work to be considered a Painting.  Sometimes … many times … it is intent, as in this case; it almost becomes a Painting, and there are those who will consider it so to be, but for me the intent was a Sketch, and so it shall remain.

For those tech-heads out there, the pigments used were Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, Venetian Red, Cobalt Blue, a bit of Cerulean, Cremnitz and Titanium Whites; all from Winsor & Newton. 

Tomorrow I will post another Colorado Oil Sketch; it could be a couple of days or so.

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