Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Averted Vision

"Madonna & Nuns" - Sketch
6x8, oil/paper - contact Michael

We went out this morning to what the locals call the "landing pad" - a flat-top outcrop overlooking Crescent Moon Ranch. From here, we could see all the way past Cathedral Rock to the "Madonna and Nuns" formation near the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

From our perch, the distant formation was full of beautiful, cool blue and violet shadows and hints of golden rim light. Using the technique of averted vision, I was able to get a true sense of how rich these shadows were. Averted vision involves letting your eye dart over the scene without resting in any one spot, and while doing so, paying attention to what colors you see with peripheral vision. I find it particularly useful in situations like this, in which simply staring at the color will make it look duller than it really is. (Staring provokes a complementary response in the eye, and this complementary color seems to grey the field.)

I did a quick sketch, making sure to keep the color rich to evoke a sense of the majestic light. I did use a bit of Chromatic Black to keep the shadows from looking garish. By the way, this is painted on cartón board from Judson's Art Outfitters . I really like the warm color of this board, especially when painting such a cool scene as this.


David Westerfield said...

Thanks for the "averted vision" info. I'll remember that. I like your painting's sense of atmosphere.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

My pleasure, David!

Bill Cramer said...

Very nice Michael. I know that scene well but have yet to try it (some fun climbs on those spires, too!). Happy New Year to you and Trina!

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

Thanks, Bill! Some day we'll have to think more on "extreme painting" - we'll get you up there with climbing gear and plein air kit yet!