Friday, January 23, 2009

Color After the Rain

"After the Rain"
5x7, oil


We had a little rain yesterday, and after the rain stopped, the clouds among the hills made a beautiful tableau. In particular, I liked the way Bear Mountain sat against the sky - beautiful cool reds, blues and greens everywhere. The warmer foreground yellows and greens of the junipers made a nice contrast. I decided to do a small sketch, with the goal of observing color accurately rather than capturing precise form. Just as I finished, the sun broke out. The sunlit cliffs created the perfect accent.

By the way, while poking around the Sedona Public Library, I came across The Art of Emily Carr (Doris Shadbolt, 1979). It's funny that I came all the way from Canada to find a book about Carr, who is perhaps Canada's best-known painter. The book tells that, for many of her works, she chose to use the least-archival materials. She painted on manila paper, using white house paint to mix with her colors and gasoline to thin them. The editor notes that many of these oil-on-paper works have become fragile and brittle. One unintended, positive effect is that the manila paper has aged to become a golden color, providing a background harmonizing color. But the negatives outweigh the positives.

Even when I make little sketches such as the one above, I use only the best materials and always archival ones. Although it may be presumptuous and immodest of me to paint for the ages, why not do so? One never knows.

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