landscape lessons.

Almost done.

As a wanna-be oil landscape artist, I imagine I'll have all number of pretty landscape pictures.  Some I may even do more than once.  I tend to like single-word names because I like to challenge myself.  But ultimately, I may just name my paintings by numbers.

Anyway.  I take lots of pictures of pretty views.  Seeing pretty views is one thing.  Seeing one that's worthy of a composition and some paint is a whole other thing.

My first finished painting will be from a photograph I took from near the northern end of the Black Canyon trail in Arizona.  I was attempting a 60K for the third time on this trail, and for the 2nd time I was coming off an illness.  I did not finish.  Once I realized I wasn't going to finish, I simply relaxed and took some pictures.  This is one of them.  

I started out by toning my canvas, and I think this may be the secret for me.   I love the way the color peeks through, here and there.

 My first pass was colors that seem GREEN.  like, jarringly green.  I puzzled over this, and the fact that sky seems weirdly blue.  This is because they are next to the toned canvas color.  

But I like the toned canvas because there are tiny hints and teeny bursts of color.   In the desert it's hard to show that without making it look like Andy Warhol does Landscapes.  

My next pass over is to tone down the greens a bit.  


 Now now after adding some darks, it seems a bit dark.  The the sparse nature of the high desert is lost in all of the sage that I painted in.  And, I've lost the perspective of the foreground, which doesn't show any transition heading down the trail.

My mentor made some suggestions, and demonstrated how I could put in some highlights, showing the sun peeking through the clouds, and here's where it is now, after I added some highlights earlier today.