"Snow Squall" 8x10, oil/paper - contact Michael
This week, we've had rain and snow showers drifting through. Any precipitation seems to fall mostly at night, so we've been able to enjoy some good walks and painting opportunities despite it. All day yesterday, snow squalls were blowing off the Mogollon Rim and down into the Verde Valley. I love watching the squalls as they slowly sweep over the mountains. It's a risky time to paint, though - and not just because of the danger of snow dropping down on your palette. The light can change very quickly. Fortunately in the scene above, whenever the sun vanished, it would come out again a few minutes later, allowing me enough time to paint the cliffs with the sun on them.
You'll note I use a lot of dull color in this piece. One of the dangers of my oil palette is that it has a lot of rich color, and rich color rarely appears in nature. When it does appear, it's to a purpose - either to make a flower attractive to a bee or an apple appealing to some foraging animal. Only cartoons have rich color everywhere. (Although I've seen some homes decorated that way, too.) Lately, I've been using more neutrals in my work to make my paintings more naturalistic. I think this is a reaction to the sometimes overwhelmingly-rich color of Sedona's red rocks.
In case you're wondering, my oil palette consists of: Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue and Phthalo Blue. I supplement these colors with Chromatic Black and Titanium-Zinc White. (All of these are from Gamblin.) I also make good use of yesterday's leftovers - the palette scrapings. These make for some really wonderful neutrals. The task of creating neutrals in pastel is a little harder, and for that, I tend to use neutral greys. A little bit added to a pure color dulls it nicely.