View Full Version : White Canyon Boulders WIP

Sarah Rose
08-13-2013, 08:22 PM
Now that the gremlins seem to be at bay I thought I'd try my WIP post again. I have been painting for about a year, and would like to improve my landscape paintings. My husband and I enjoy southeast Utah, often camping with our horses and exploring off trail. This reference photo came from one such ride, and is in White Canyon, just west of Natural Bridges:


I tried this handy trick for a grid using string because I have been feeling my intial drawings are not accurate enough:


Blocking in some color and using alcohol to set it into the paper texture (UArt 800):


After an afternoon:


I would love feedback on my workflow and technique, really anything. I have no issues with receiving c & c, so have at it. I really want to improve. One thi g that is bugging me with this painting is it feels very monochromatic. I have worked in some of the greens, I'll post that here pretty soon....it still feels sorta blah color wise, though.

08-16-2013, 12:22 AM
Actually, your light is lovely, you have cools behind which recede and warm light in front and the harsh, desert air reads beautifully. I admire this work. I'm anxious to see it finished.

08-16-2013, 02:40 AM
The greens will make all the difference in due course...a touch of complementary colour. But anyway, it is not blah.

I was at a beautiful hotel restaurant last evening. There was a STUNNING painting on the wall, of the Treasury at Petra. It was all shades of pinks and oranges, and looked truly fab. You do not need to worry about it being monochrome, that can often work really well, since the painting has the strength of colour HARMONY.

Have a look at this Albert Handel. See how monochrome it is and how wonderfully well the tiny touches of green work:

Keep going - this is an excellent start. Rocks have fascinating surfaces, with tiny fissures and and textures, and when you have added some of those to the foreground, it will make all the difference. It is worth looking at Albert Handel's rocks for inspiration. Here's one:http://alberthandell.com/artwork/rock-wall-at-rio-rancho-2

08-16-2013, 10:35 AM
I think you've got the shapes and the light nailed. The rest is just fun!

08-16-2013, 11:30 AM
Love the contrast - this is coming along very nicely. Definitely not blah! I might make the background rocks less cool.


P.S. For just painting for one year, you're doing excellent!!

Sarah Rose
08-16-2013, 12:17 PM
Here is the finished painting:


08-16-2013, 04:23 PM
" ... long term sculptor ... "
- almost missed that .

this painting goes beyond the ref pix , quite admirably .


Sarah Rose
08-16-2013, 11:47 PM
Thanks everyone! Thanks esp to Jackie, that Handell painting really illustrated your point, the touches of green really tied it all together. Yes, Ed, I have been making a living as a sculptor for the last 15 years, so that does help me a bit. When painting these rocks I kept reminding myself to go ahead and paint like a sculptor.

08-17-2013, 12:55 AM
Your understanding of form stands you in good stead. This is wonderful.

08-20-2013, 02:05 AM
so glad to be of help, and give you the confidence to carry on.

Just one thing I would say about working from photos. the human eye can see vastly more than the camera, because the camera cannot read both dark areas and light areas properly at the same time.

So,your black shadows ...you would have seen into them on the spot.

If you take your photos into Photoshop (I only have Photoshop Elements,but it does the job) and hit ctrl:L, you get a slider which allows you to lighten the photo. Look what happens...I lightened this a lot, but look at how you can now see into the shadows.

Always beware of black shadows in a photo, treat them with great suspicion.


Sarah Rose
08-20-2013, 04:10 PM
GREAT tip Jackie, thanks so much! I'll remember that in the future.