My lastest painting originated from a photo I took outside of the bunkhouse on the Rossi Ranch where I occasionally stay during elk hunting trips. It was about -10 degrees on a bitterly cold December morning. I just had gotten my elk and was about to head inside to cook some breakfast, but I couldn’t move. I just stood there and stared at these beautiful horses and the dramatic scenery in the background.
As usual, I like to post a few photos of the process, and I usually start out with a sketch. This time was no different.
Next, I set the tone by adding some dark colors on first. It’s nothing but a heavy glaze, but gets me going in the right direction.
Next, I work on the mesa in the distance. I get all the shape how I like them.
Then I wash the whole background with a little white to get the feeling there is a snow storm brewing in the near distance. I also take the time to block in the horses with something close to their final color.
Then I paint the bushes and fence in the foreground, and I add finishing touches to the horses.
Finally, well almost, I add some detail in the foreground. It’s here where I realized I didn’t know when to stop. I should have stopped a long time ago leaving the foreground partially barren to draw the eye down the fence and not add so much busy up-front.
However, that’s easy enough to fix. Paint over some grass and preserving the snow. Now I’m calling it quits.
“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”
― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
Afternoon Light on County Road M, 2013, acrylic on 18″ x 24″ canvas
Some paintings have multiple lives. I started this one back in 2010. It was going to be a foggy woodland meadow landscape. I got bored with it, and I almost threw it out.
Fast forward to 2011. I was out on the eastern plains of Colorado pheasant hunting with a good friend when I saw this massive field of freshly bailed hay. I jumped out of the truck and took a few photos of the setting sun. It inspired me to go back and give new life to the neglected work in progress. Alas, I again lost interest in finishing it.
So, it’s now 2013, and I’m tired of looking at this unfinished painting. Pop the top on a few beers. A few dabs of paint, and, ummm, I think it’s done.