Sunday, October 3, 2010

Four Corners & Colorado Plateau series - #7, 8, 9

Yesterday's paintings, finished last night, and too late to photograph and post.

Since this series is all about experimentation and exploration of techniques and materials with oils, I switched three things for these:  surface, canvas size, and underpainting.

While 5x7 is a good size for working small paintings that can be completed relatively quickly, I'm not so sure it is the ideal size to be using when trying to paint discreet areas in a least for me at this stage.  Having also run out of the gessoed cards that I'd made up, I switched to canvas paper - a 9x12 sheet torn in half was a bit

I have never liked painting on a white surface, either with pastels or oils, which is why I used colored papers and utilized washes for many pastel paintings.    I also hate waste, in any form, so as I was finishing up painting #6 a few days ago, it suddenly occurred to me to use the leftover paint for underpaintings, which seemed like it would solve two issues at once.  The paints, mixed together, formed a warm brown, which was perfect.

Oh, and I added Cerulean blue to the palette for the sky - UB plus white tends to make for harsh, washed-out skies when used by itself.

Towards Black Mesa - #7
Past Kayenta, Hwy 160 drops down off this gentle rise and heads due west towards Black Mesa on the left.  Clouds were loosely based on view out my window as I was painting this yesterday.

Underpainting wash for #7, with paint mix, OMS, and a #10 hog bristle filbert.

Agathla Peak - #8
Agathla Peak is another volcanic diatreme, like Church Rock, north of Kayenta along Hwy 163.  It is visible from Hwy 160, slightly hidden behind Navajo sandstone slopes.  The peak is actually a bit too big in the painting.

#8 underpainting

North towards Shonto platform  - #9
Plains and Great Basin grassland and desert scrub give way to pinyon-juniper woodland.  This was a good chance to mix various greens, and color mixing is one of my favorite things about working with oils.  The gray-blue in the foreground is sage; I quickly blocked it in but was too tired to detail it out by that time. 


Conclusion:  these simple wash underpaintings are definitely the way to go for all future paintings; unlike white, I don't mind if the warm brown of the underpainting shows through in areas.  


  1. I never paint on white either.
    That peak looks like a sinister shark fin.

  2. Jala - hahaha! It does look like a shark fin, doesn't it? Finessing is not happening so much at this point in the game, nor is fixating on composition rules. So, some funk gets created ;).


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