Sunday, December 26, 2010

Softer Winter Dawn

Soft Winter Dawn, pastel on Wallis paper, 12" x 9."

I wanted to paint another version of the winter dawn such as I've been observing during the past week. Most have been more muted, with the softer colors of a cloudier, more veiled atmosphere (with the snow almost gone). I thought pastels would allow me a different way to achieve the effect. I didn't realize I needed a wider a range of colors to make those subtle transitions from violet-blue to pink and peach in the sky. It's nearly impossible to mix pastels and keep the colors pure--you have to get as close to the exact val-hue as possible when you are dealing with pure pigment. A rough approximation, my painting seems a bit limited in range, but it strikes the right mood of mystery.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Dawn

Winter Dawn, oils on panel, 9" x 12." Contact artist for price.

This past week I started a new job much closer to home. As a result, I have been able to sleep later in the mornings and see the sunrise as I am getting up, instead of starting my morning commute in the dark. At our latitude, the sun doesn't rise until well after seven this close to the Winter Solstice--a date I look forward to as the turning point of the year.

On Thursday we had a light snowfall, perhaps an inch and a half. The next morning, the sunrise was gorgeous, and I took some photos to help me remember the amazing colors in the sky. I finally had a chance to paint it today, putting in a bit more snow than there actually was on the ground. I keep wondering what kind of winter this will be: will it be as harsh and snowy as the last one?

Monday, December 6, 2010


Staggered, oils on canvas panel, 12" x 16." Contact artist for price.
The weather has turned quite cold and I haven't been motivated to endure the freezing temperatures outdoors, so I am continuing to experiment with painting from photos.

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago I went out to the McKeldin area of Patapsco State Park. With the season's shorter days upon us, there wasn't enough time to complete a painting before dark, but I had just enough time to further explore some of the trails where I have been painting, looking for new locations for next year. I took my camera with me in case I came across some interesting sights.

I made a circle from the Rapids Trail to the Switchback Trail down to the North Branch and walking back up the hill, came across this six point stag browsing the vegetation. I was able to take several shots before he heard the shutter and turned around to look straight at me. After a few seconds of staring, he took off with a flick of his tail, running down the hill. I followed, but by the time I got back to the river, he was crossing the stream too far away for a good shot. The sun was setting, illuminating the tops of the trees on one bank with that orange light so characteristic of the season and the reflections on the water were brilliant. The whole scene was reminiscent of Winslow Homer's unforgettable paintings.

When I got home and printed my photos, I thought combining two shots to put the stag at the edge of the stream might work. Here is the result of my experiment. It is convincing?