Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More on Diptychs & Changing Light

"Red Rock 3" 5x7, pastel - contact Michael

"Red Rock 4" 5x7, pastel - contact Michael

What was a hard rain for us last night was heavy snow for the Mogollon Rim just north of town. Fortunately, the clouds broke early in the morning, and we were able to go down to Crescent Moon for some good painting. The creek is up - the stepping stones at Red Rock Crossing are now under fast-moving water - but the air is full of the smell of sycamores.

At the end of the park closest to Cathedral Rock, there's a great view of a meadow with cliffs behind it. It was a great spot to practice "in place" painting. Although we each did two paintings, we didn't move our easels except to keep the painting surface in shade as the sun moved. In my first painting, you can see the Madonna and Nuns, over near the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and in the second, the shoulder of Cathedral Rock. I put together a single image showing you the distance between the two scenes. You can get a good idea of the panorama.

The weather changed rapidly during our session. Clouds were the rule in the first one; sun in the second. Still, these two paintings look very similar in tone and color, mostly because in each case the rocks are back-lit with deep shadows and rim lighting. Unlike my previous diptych, in which I blocked in both panels at the same time, here I did each independently, making sure I had a "clean slate" for the second one, so to speak. I even returned my pastel selections for the first back into the box, and chose them "fresh" from the box for the second. (Keeping the same palette for each insures a harmony in color, but I wanted to make different choices for the second if necessary, and the easiest way to do that is to start empty-handed.)

The first one is on Wallis sanded paper, the Belgian Mist color. The second is some unknown brand, one of many sample sheets I have. I used an alcohol wash on this one to get the color started.

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