View Full Version : Colorado River-Canyonlands

Mikki Petersen
03-02-2006, 05:22 PM
I've been working on this one in class and learning all sorts of new tricks.

Colorado River-Canyonlands
soft pastel on Art Spectrum (brick toned)

Your comments and advice are always welcomed and appreciated.


03-02-2006, 05:26 PM
Mikki, This is breathtaking!!!!


03-02-2006, 05:32 PM
Ehhhh....it's okay.

Actually, on second thought...it's more than okay! Geez Mikki. You have come soooo far...this is really wonderful. I haven't been around and to come back and see this is quite a treat. Wow! I just had to stop typing and go back and take a look. Beautiful! I'm proud of you!!


Mikki Petersen
03-02-2006, 05:35 PM
Thank you Binkie! And Sandy, your words mean so much to me since we have been doing this about the same amount of time. Glad you dropped in today.


03-02-2006, 05:39 PM
This is so alive!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Kathryn Wilson
03-02-2006, 05:52 PM
aaarrrrrgggghhhh - I wanna go there! Amazing rock formations Mikki - and the greens look so alive against those red rocks.

I'm pulling up my chair on this one!

Mikki, you mentioned to me in my thread about the reflections - I know Bob Rohm uses his fingers, but I use the back part of my palm, and just sweep down through the water - first vertically, then very lightly horizontally. But these look good to me -

03-02-2006, 05:56 PM
Wow! I'm speachless,

Karen Margulis
03-02-2006, 06:01 PM
Beautiful painting! The rocks, the sky, the water...I can't decide what I like the best! What kind of new tricks have you been learning??? Fantastic!

03-02-2006, 06:13 PM
Wonderful painting...Love what you've done with the water!!

Piper Ballou
03-02-2006, 06:22 PM
Wow oh wow..this is my favorite of yours, it is spectacular
the water reflections are remarkable and draws one right into the painting

03-02-2006, 06:32 PM
Very nice landscape Mikki. The water reflections are fantastic!

03-02-2006, 06:35 PM
OMGoodness!! The depth is incredible !! HOw long have you been doing this?:cat:

03-02-2006, 06:55 PM
Beautiful work, Mikki! The reflections are perfect!

03-02-2006, 06:55 PM
This is beautiful. May I ask what class you are in. Is it Placerville. I live
in Plymouth not far from Placerville. Your work is lovely. I especially like
your use of color.


03-02-2006, 07:36 PM
wonderful and beautiful, you really did a great job. james

03-02-2006, 07:59 PM
Very,very nice.....you're greens and yellows vibrate....the reflections in the water are terrific....can I make a suggestion??...maby add a tiny bit of
light violet or light blue to make the large background mountains recede
a little bit more??....EXCELLANT JOB.......Art

03-02-2006, 08:16 PM
Hi Mikki,

What can I say but : Brilliant !!!
However the shadow on the background is driving my attention too much.
Is that happening to you also ?
I cannot say why tough.
I wish I could do rocks like that.



P.S. maybe a smoother transaction between the darker and the lighter parts ?
Altough it can be just like that in reality, of course.

Tracy Lang
03-02-2006, 08:51 PM

This just pops! I love the way you did the rocks and the water :)

Paula Ford
03-02-2006, 09:26 PM

This is absolutely your best! Really really beautiful work!

Definately a beautiful place to go.


Mikki Petersen
03-02-2006, 09:33 PM
Wow! What a great response!

Karen, I learned several new things working on this one...First, I learned that still water reflections appear vertically. I can't telll you how discouraged I was with this until my instructor, Margot Schulzke, pointed out this detail. I then dragged the side of my palm down through the the water, vertically, and voila! it was water, not mud, almost like magic. The second thing is clarification about the magic of disappearing lines (I can't think of the correct term right this minute). Margot showed me how breaking up solid lines, such as the cliffs in the background, places them where they belong and keeps them from drawing attention from the focal point. Another lesson is that objects seen on a blue sky day will have some blue reflected on them even if you can't distinguish it separate from the other colors you are seeing. This is why purples often work so well in landscapes even when the landscape seems not to have purple. She also showed me how to use a colored pencil in a light blue or other effective color to lighten just along the edge behind the forward objects. In this case you will see that there is almost a mist behind each of the receding mountains which moves the mountain before it closer. It's a relational aspect of airial perspective. A pastel pencil is also a great feathering tool for softening lines without laying down a lot of color.

Lierrem, I am honored to be taking classes with Margot Schulzke over in Auburn. It's a 1.5 hour drive each way but I love the way Margot teaches.

Jose, The shadows in the red mountain (focal point) for some reason picked up very dark in the photo image. They are much softer and read well inthe painting. Thank you for noting this.

To those of you who remarked on the beauty of the location...there is no exxageration in this painting. I found Canyonlands to be one of the most scenic places ever...a more interactive Grand Canyon in the making.

To all of you, many thanks for the enthusiastic response. I'm feeling quite proud!


David Patterson
03-02-2006, 10:37 PM
I love this Mikki - very nice indeed!

03-03-2006, 03:53 AM
Mikki, this is superb!


Bhavana Vijay
03-03-2006, 09:15 AM
Wow wow wow!! Just stunning! You've dealt with so many scary (in my opinion) things in this painting!! Seriously a stunner.

03-03-2006, 09:18 AM
Mikki, my, oh my. oh my. How perfect and wonderful. It's absolutely beautiful. You did outstanding.

Karen Margulis
03-03-2006, 09:28 AM
Mikki, thanks for taking the time to share what you've been learning. You are so fortunate to be able to study with Margot Schulzke! I am reading her book on composition and I LOVE it! She explains things so well! I am recommending this book to all my art friends!
Thanks again!

Tom Behnke
03-03-2006, 11:25 AM
Hi Mikki:

This is SOOO awesome. Ok, give it up, what tricks did you learn? Particularly how you did the rocks! I am about twenty minutes of work away from a finished piece, and the rocks (in snow, though) are the only obstacle left. Please share if you can.

I love this a whole lot.


Mikki Petersen
03-03-2006, 01:33 PM
Karen, Margot's book is all the things she emphasizes in class. Not only is it chock-full of valuable information, but it's pretty enough to be a coffee table art book. I, too, am touting the value of that book wherever I can.

Tom, the rocks are trial and error...just drabs and dribbles of lights and darks until I got the effect that looked right to me. Sorry, I can't be more scientific but a lot of my technique is just trial and error. One of the things a friend and I did recently is to get on the internet (what an amazing tool we have) and go to sites of artist's whose work we admire, then find paintings of the similar subject matter and compare our painting in progress to those paintings of the pros. By looking at what works in the pro paintings compared to our paintings, we learned a lot. I especially like Gil Dellinger's work: http://www.gildellinger.com/index.html

Again to all who have commented so enthusiastically, thank you. I am pumped full of confidence to begin my next painting.


03-03-2006, 03:07 PM
Absolutely stunning Mikki - I feel like I am really there looking at this scene in real life! I am printing out your tips! Thanks!

Pinecone Conniff
03-03-2006, 09:39 PM
What I like most about your work is that you choose epic landscapes & create an epic painting! I call them epic because I've seen you tackle some pretty complex scenes...this one is stunning!:thumbsup:
Soak up all you can at the classes...you are inspiring!

Tom Behnke
03-04-2006, 01:55 AM
Thanks Mikki:

I am a ''trial and error" artist too. I was hoping you weren't like me, lol. Darn.

But great advice about looking at other artists. Thanks.

03-04-2006, 05:17 AM
Wonderful painting Mikki. I want to go there. :lol:

03-04-2006, 05:49 AM
Hello Mikki!
It does full justice to the real thing!I've been to the Canyon and back then too I thought it to be awe-inspiring...Yours is just as breathtaking!:clap: :clap: :clap:

03-04-2006, 11:40 AM
Thanks Mikki:

I am a ''trial and error" artist too. I was hoping you weren't like me, lol. Darn.

But great advice about looking at other artists. Thanks.

Hi Tom,

Once I wrote to Greg Biolchini about his painting «Sandstone Majesty».
I was kind enough to send me this :

Dear Jose,

Thank you for your inquiry.

The painting, "Sandstone Magesty," was painted on a sanded pastel paper, 400 grit (fine sandpaper) 20" X 30". Using this sandpaper was very important for this type of application requiring strong detail. I used Rembrandt and Nu-Pastels. These pastels are considered hard pastels. For the details and hard edges, I sharpened my pastels frequently on a drywall sanding screen. For the finishing touches in the foreground, I used Schmincke soft pastels. The soft pastels are stronger and a little richer in color. Harder pastels produce a more controlled blending as they are layered over each other. Heavy pressure produces an opaque, hard-edge covering of the previous layer. Lighter pressure will produce a blended soft edge and a mixing with the previous layers. Extremely soft pastels will only allow a strong covering of previous layers, and will not blend with previous layers, making them very effective for strong accents only. This painting was painted from multiple photographs of the subject, not from life. I hope this answers your question. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Please feel free to share this with your group.

Respectfully, Greg Biolchini

Best regards,


03-04-2006, 12:07 PM
Wow! :thumbsup:

Mikki Petersen
03-04-2006, 07:53 PM
Annette, I keep trying to get away from the vistas and go for landscape "vignettes" but these scenes just grab hold of me and won't let go. I'm glad you like them.

Tom, sorry to let you down...us "trial and error" artists learn hard but we learn well.

Jose, that was quite a nice response from such a renowned person. Thank you for sharing it.


Tom Behnke
03-05-2006, 06:05 AM
Wow Jose', that was a great response. Thanks for posting that.

04-15-2006, 08:35 AM
This is breathtaking! About the only thing I'd possibly suggest is to flick some pinks, mauves and light blues into the background ranges to help them recede a bit more. Then I'd be framing it. Great work!

04-15-2006, 02:36 PM
Ditto on all the great comments

04-15-2006, 04:53 PM
Mikki, your work was already very good a year ago but in the time since you have shown such dedicated growth and your work is as good in many ways as the current "masters" . This piece is just stunning. Yes each of us can see small tweaks to suggest but as is, it is great. Stay proud. I loved my time in the canyon lands and this brings that joy back. It is an amazing place, a tossed salad of all the great Western spaces.

04-15-2006, 11:40 PM
Ahhhhhh Mikki, there you are! I do hope that this is one which you are entering in the SPS show as it is really stunning! I ABSOLUTELY love everything about this, great scene, lucious colors and so well done. :clap: :clap: :clap: Your friend, Marie :)