Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Watching of Weather.

“Evening Storm Passing Away”
(Oregon High Desert)
Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel
8” x 16”

One of the interesting things about the Oregon High Desert in Springtime is the variation in the weather.  For several days there might be clear cold or days, and then a sudden front comes through with snow or rain … or both. There might be a warm southerly wind which brings in a day or two of promise of Summer to come, and your base layers need to come off, followed by a drop in temperature, necessitating your base layers to come back on. You could say that is true most places in temperate climes, but out in the wilds you are aware of it more, especially in those landscapes with wide open spaces, such as the Oregon High Desert. Of course I'm well aware that this is not unique to the High Desert, but it is here that I am, and where I was last year at this time, watching storms marching along in the distance and occasionally over me. Late last Spring there was just such a day, and the last storm of the day, Zeus (or was it Thor?), flung a few lightning bolts around, making it doubly interesting. And the lowering Sun behind had broken through and bathed the landscape in this magical light.  Today, as I write, the showers are marching past, although no sign of lightning, and  even with the Sun breaking through, I don't expect the magical light this time … the storms seem to be ending earlier in the day today.

The Imprimatura & Block-in.

This is both the Imprimatura and the Block-in for the painting … I suppose you could say it's also the Drawing.  When I was painting Watercolours, almost exclusively, I usually laid down a fairly comprehensive under-drawing. The comprehensiveness depended on the subject and the amount of detail within my normally highly detailed Watercolours. With Oils it's a different matter. I draw with the brush in pigment, as opposed to drawing with a graphite pencil. Then the painting is normally blocked-in, and subsequent layers include modelling and detailing. This is the method used for what I am calling ‘Studio Paintings.’ For the quicker Sketches and Studies, I usually lay in an Imprimatura layer, then a quick drawing, and go straight into the painting whether the Imprimatura has dried thoroughly or not. If I was painting architecture in a Super-realist or Surrealist manner, I would probably do a detailed drawing with sharpened charcoal, and over draw that with India Ink, before continuing with paint. Why charcoal and not graphite? Graphite can show through subsequent paint layers.

The Pigments used in the painting are:
Imprimatura & Drawing: W&N Venetian Red;
Pigments: W&N Cobalt & French Ultramarine Blues, Cadmiums Yellow Pale & Orange, Venetian Red, Cremnitz White;
Rublev: French Red Ochre, Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre;
Schmincke: Caput Mortuum;
Gamblin: Permanent Magenta.

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