Thursday, April 7, 2011

Travels Abroad - landscapes in oils, 6x6 - SOLD

original landscape painting, oils, roads, 6x6

Travels Abroad #1
oil on wood panel

Travels Abroad #2
oil on wood panel

Before embarking on larger paintings based on the Butler Wash/Cedar Mesa trip, I decided I had to do the Daily Paintworks German Landscape challenge for this week.  Host Carol Marine offered two photos, both taken during her trip to Germany.  And, even though I don't usually paint from reference photos that aren't my own, I couldn't resist these.  

Why?  Two reasons:  1) they have roads, which I have an irresistible urge to paint; 2) the snapshots themselves had inherently good design - simple, abstract shapes and good range of values.  As the basis for a painting, they were ideal.  

My personal challenge with these was to more or less abandon the local color (summer green...not my favorite color, and besides, everyone else is doing them in green) and go with some different palettes for each. And, to simplify-simplify-simplify.  

The palette I used was somewhat random:  alizarin crimson, cadmium orange, Indian yellow, burnt sienna, brown madder, cobalt blue hue.  Actually, the brown madder was the random addition to the palette.

They were fun little paintings, both done last night, save for some tweaking on #2 this morning.  Originally, I had long shadows going across the road in #2, even though they aren't in the reference photo.  I wasn't sure about them, so I showed Wayne, because despite the fact he says he isn't qualified to offer opinions on art, he's nothing but brutally honest:  "I don't like the shadows - it looks like sewage is running across the road."   After I stopped laughing, I went down and changed it.  Despite what he might think, I'm actually really grateful for his opinions.  Hopefully, it looks better now.

Some random photos from our Utah trip from the first day after our hikes:

Casa Del Eco Mesa, with the San Juan river cutting across the valley.  

San Juan river
Two rafts await a private river trip in the morning

Monument Valley to the southwest, as seen from Hwy 163 

Two buttes in Valley of the Gods catch late afternoon sun

Sunset in the town of Bluff, UT


  1. Love the little paintings! Also, have you read The Monkey Wrench Gang? Edward Abbey. You might find it amusing. It takes place in the areas you show in these shots, involving a doctor, a river raft tour guide, a girl from New York, and a former Green Beret. They go around and sabotage the operations that disturb this area. Very well written work, and quite hilarious. His descriptions match these photos, and there's a lot of hiking.

  2. Thanks, Bill! Re Mr. Abbey: I've actually not read The Monkey Wrench Gang. Wayne has, though, and even before we hit up this area, I knew it had to be on my "to read" list. In fact, his pithy comments about Blanding from said book were referred to during the trip ;). It will be even a better read now.

  3. I admire that you do these challenge paintings - someday I'll do the same. The most I can muster is to do an occasional webcam image that I find on the net.

    My favorite movies take place here, esp. monument valley.

  4. Casey, I've personally found them to be a great way to try new things (like painting cars, or with 2 colors, etc.) that I might not have otherwise tried, but I think that if you've got a strong vision of the direction you are taking (or want to take) your art, they could just be a distraction from that.

    It's easy to see why so many movies were filmed in the Utah part of the Four Corners, isn't it?


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