"December Morning in the Desert" 24x30, oil/canvas - Finished Version
Followers of my blog will remember that, about two weeks ago, I dragged a 24x30 canvas, along with my Beauport easel, a bag of paints and my Classic EasyL box, up to the Schnebly Hill parking lot. In the field, I worked on the piece over two separate three-hour sessions, and then I posted a photo of "our story so far."
Since then, I have gone back up to Schnebly Hill, but to do an 8x10 study of the scene. I wanted to zoom in on the terminator between light and shadow at the foot of the distant mountain. I needed to refresh my memory of how dark the shadow was in relationship to the light and of the quality of temperature contrast between the two.
I also invited a friend over to take a look and give me some feedback. M.L. Coleman (www.mlcolemanart.com) suggested I break up the large, green area of vegetation between the chasm and the mountains a bit more. He said, "The painting is more about rock than about greenery." I completely agreed with him.
So, over a couple of afternoons this week, I made my adjustments. Using my study as a reference, I increased the contrast between light and dark along the distant terminator; pushed the mountains farther away with lighter blues and purples; and dug up some shrubs in the middle ground and exposed more rock. I also added highlights here and there to "punch up" the center of interest and pathway for the eye.
Now, as you know, I'm a committed plein air painter. Most of what I do is outside, and to be outside is always my preference. I'd say this piece, even though about one-third of my time was spent in the studio, still qualifies as plein air. What do you think?