Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Winter Willows

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"Winter Willows"
(Hot Springs, Hart Mountain, Oregon High Desert)
Oil Sketch on Panelli Tellati Canvas Panel
With an additional coat of Williamsburg Lead Ground
6" x 8"

(Take further Note: the images and incidents herein occurred in December 2014.)

There was a further ¾” of new snow on the roof of the truck this morning, and although there was a chill easterly wind, I felt it was a warmer morning than yesterday.  I only drove from my campsite to the beginning of the plowed road leaving the campground, when I was brought up short by the early light hitting the Winter Willows along the creek, with the snowy ridge of Hart Mountain against the blue-grey clouds beyond; never got any further; remained here and painted instead of driving off in search of somewhere else.  The actual Hot Springs are beyond the willows.  

I chose a 6” x 8” (15 x 20 cms) Panelli Telati canvas panel that I had given a further coat of lead in oil ground over the factory acrylic priming; it took the paint nicely.  I proceeded with an imprimatura of Venetian Red (W&N), lighter than some of the recent ones I have worked over, and for pigments used the usual suspects: Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna & Lead White #2, with Winsor & Newton Venetian Red and Cobalt Blue, and at the end of the painting used a mixture of Cadmium Red & Yellow with a touch of Burnt Sienna for the brighter tints of the willow.  I proceeded a bit differently on this work, in that after sketchily drawing in the design with Cobalt Blue, and painting in the sky as normal, I then blocked in the panel pretty much completely with tints of a blue-grey mix from the mountain ridge to the foreground, to set the values of the snow.  Over this values block-in I then went back in with the details: willows, rocks, junipers, etc. Twice during the session I lost the tops of the ridge in light snow showers.  Finally I brushed in the lighted area of snow and willows, which contrasted nicely against the earlier dark valued block-in of the snow. 

Spotted an American Magpie, and a couple of raptors of some description, while painting.  Radio says snow coming in, but sounds more serious in the northern Cascades; I have supplies and the snowplow is only 5 miles away … I would only need to await its arrival, in the normal course of its working, should serious snow fall hereabouts.  A lovely quarter inch fell while preparing supper; nothing to worry about.


  1. Really lovely Steve; I love how you caught the sunlight on the snow with the contrast of dark clouds.


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