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Monday, December 14, 2009

Home in Sedona

"December at Red Rock Crossing" 5x7, oil

Above is my first painting of our new winter in Sedona. As those of you who follow my monthly newsletter already know, we arrived just this weekend after a nearly 4000-mile journey. We're very glad to be here! El NiƱo has taken the country by storm, and it's not a good time to be travelling. But here, we're expecting nothing but sun all week.

I've had scarcely time to set up the studio before my first mentoring workshop, which started today. We went out to Red Rock Crossing - just a scant half-mile from our winter lodging - to paint the Sedona icon, Cathedral Rock. I also had time to do a second painting of it, a close-up:

"There Be Giants" 9x12, oil

If you've visited Sedona or seen pictures, you'll remember the vivid red rocks. In these pictures, they're hardly vivid at all. This is because of the time of day. These were painted in early morning when the rocks were still backlit and the shadows were quite dull. As we got toward lunchtime, a lot of reflected light began to hit the shadowed sides, and they began to glow. In some ways, I prefer the more subtle, neutral colors from the early part of the day.

In both of these paintings, I used a considerable amount of Gamblin's Chromatic Black. As I've written elsewhere, this truly neutral black will both dull and darken a color without changing the hue. It's made from two pigments, phthalocyanine (PG36) and quinacridone red (PV19). These are complements and thus make a good dark. Some readers have asked, Why don't you just mix your own?, but Gamblin does a better job with their grinding mills than I ever could on my palette.

If you'd like to visit Sedona and paint this view yourself, I'll be teaching my Paint Sedona mentoring workshops all winter. In case you missed my last post on these workshops, please visit it here. I take no more than four students at a time, so it's a rare opportunity.

By the way, my 2010 portfolio is now available. This 46-page collection offers pastels and oils from my 2009 year. As with my other portfolios, it'll never be available again after next year. It costs $17 (plus shipping), or you can download it for only $9 and save the shipping. You can order it from my Lulu store.