Why Fascinated?

“Nearing Sunset”
oil on linen on panel, 10″x 8″
Sometimes there are subjects that defy logic or conventional formulas . . . .like rocks and broken faces of cliffs . . .and evidence of layered strata in cliff faces with all the random planes. I suppose that is why this subject held my interest in watercolor for so many years. And, I guess, it is the reason I keep going back and back and back and coming away less than satisfied.
In short, it is a tuff subject to paint. The painters who do the Grand Canyon amaze me. Those who do Sadona and Zion, etc make me stare in wonder: How do they do thaaaaat?
All this work in the past few days has been in answer to that constant fascination. Each day, it seems to get a little easier. Today, some things fell into place. Light and shadow is the part which complicates matters. Separating the two and keeping them separate is a big part of it. Another is working with color relatives inside those areas . . .or so I think. Cools and warms. Value and color transitions. Edges. Sheesh! This gets complicated! Oh, but there is more! I won’t go into it now, but you get the idea.
And you are bored with looking at this subject? Okay. I’ll take a break. But not for long.

8 thoughts on “Why Fascinated?”

  1. Wow, Mike. You’ve been busy! I applaud your tenacity. You’ll be the boss of those cliffs yet. The last couple have been done in the studio?

  2. This one was done on site, Sunday afternoon . . .and needed help. Sooo, I helped it this morning in the studio.

    I am noticing that my vision to see color well while fighting the elements (and all that input) is noticably reduced. So, I am just going to have to gut it out and keep trying outside . . .with some adjustments, of course.


  3. Your compositions are excellent. I really need to come and paint with you so you can show me these wonderful locations. Concentrate on temperature and you will really get the light to explode off the rocks.

  4. Anytime you wanna join us out here Elio, you got a guide and painting pardner.

    Thanks again for your comments. I went straight to the studio and started foolin with colored blocks to see if I could get your suggestions. Are you also suggesting keeping values close while shifting temperature?

  5. Mike,
    If you want to work on temperature then set-up a still life with objects that have all the same local color.

    For Example…
    Yellow Cloth, Lemons, Yellow cups and sunflowers.

    These studies will really train your eye to look for different temperatures because local color is so close. The great thing about this is if you really get good at this you can throw local color out the window. As long as it’s the right value and right temperatures it will read correct, essentially fooling the eye.

    If I get a chance tomorrow I will do a little study and post it on my blog so you can see what I mean.
    To answer your question about value, it really depends on the subject matter.

    I am not sure what you are asking about keeping the values the same while shifting temperature???

  6. Interesting way to do it, Elio. I was painting colored blocks yesterday and working with value and temperature.

    What I meant by keeping values the same and manipulating temperature is this: Our eye first and always sees value contrast . . .not color contrasts or differences. If a painter is a colorist, as you are, then keeping the value contrast at a minimum, then the only contrast that is left to see is temperature, hue or intensity. Turner used this extensively to create the illusion of luminosity by holding most of the surrounding colors in the ‘tones’ or ‘seminuetral’ category, eliminating any dark contrast, and leaving the center of interest to be in pure tints and hues so that the intensity difference was most obvious. The same would go for temperature.

  7. Sorry about the confusion! When I say the “same value and temperature” I mean keep the relationships the same on the canvas as in your subject matter. Not the values and temperatures of the paint you are mixing.
    Did that clear it up?

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