Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Canyon Glow

Canyon Glow, 9X12, oil on canvas panel

Hi Everyone,
Things have been busy in the studio. I've been working on several figurative paintings lately, which for me at least, take more time to finish. But I found time to do this landscape studio painting last week, just before Christmas. Ann and I have a tradition of going to Zion in early November right after the peak season finishes. The cottonwood trees are at their peak and the weather is cool and comfy (ok, sometimes it's cold and frigid). At this time of year, the sun's arch is low in the sky and it takes a long time for it to light up the canyons, but boy when it does, it's glorious! I always joke that at this time of year, you can't throw a stone without killing a photographer.... they're EVERYWHERE! And since we're all there for the same reason, it's like you're part of this fraternity that's on a working holiday. Most of our time is taken up with being with friends, so I didn't bring my paintbox this time, but my camera was never out of my hand. I remember taking the photo from which I painted this picture. I stood there for some time making mental notes about what the light was doing, the color temps and why it would be so effective as a painting. The smaller trees which are still in shadow in the foreground were surprisingly green compared to the line of cottonwoods being lit by the sun. This helps to separate them from the focal point of the glowing foliage. There was quite a bit more detail in the canyon wall, but if I had painted it in in the same detail as was there, it would have competed with the tree line, so I minimized it. I have a quotation taped to the top of my easel which I see every day to remind myself, "Minimize the Obvious, Maximize the Essential". That about says it all!

Thanks for looking, Steve


Tim Fitzgerald said...

Happy New Year Steve,
Glad to see you are working hard in the early part of 2011.Canyon Glow does just that,it glows.
I formally lived in Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of N.Y.,the photographers were everywhere during the Autumn. Also a lot of painters followed the changing color in the tree's.
I also enjoyed the quote pasted on your easel,I would steal it to put on mine if there was any room left with all the other sticky notes.I'm a collector of useful art tips and quotes like so many other painters.
Have a healthy and successful year and may all your paintings be beautiful.
Tim Fitz

Steve Atkinson said...

Hey Tim, Happy New Year! It's good to see you made it through 2010. Like you I love quotes. I write 'em down all the time. If you ever get around to gathering them into some sort of book, put me first on the list for a copy! Have a very productive and prosperous new year and I'll talk to you down the road...