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.
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.
OK, it’s not ten degrees outside, but winter will be here before you can say “Achooo!” Snow is now flying in the high country, and thoughts have turned to skiing and other winter activities. However, late in the season, the snow and the cold temps get old, and folks get “cabin fever” longing for warmer spring days.
Our winters in Boulder are relatively mild, but there’s always a brief spell in January where you might not see the sun for days. Yesterday, the morning sky and cool temps reminded me of one of those dreary mid-winter mornings. I had just gotten back from photographing a few barns north of town, and I needed to thaw out. The mountains, usually visible from my door, are hidden behind a gloomy wall of white. To hell with the mid-morning run. It’s 10 degrees outside with a windchill of way-too-fucking-cold. It’s been snowing gently for two days, but last night’s wind has already scoured the yard of clean of fresh snow. The light is just weird. Is the sun going to come out, or is it going to snow again? Make up your mind, dammit. The icy cold wind cut right through my over-priced performance apparel and answered my question. I cart more firewood into the house.
The scene above (I painted last winter) is from a day like that. I took a photo of this shed out on the prairie in-between snow storms on a bitter cold January day. The light was weird. For just a few moments, the weathered shed was awash in a brilliant morning sun that quickly gave way to another wintery storm on the prairie.
If your ever out on Hwy 52 near IBM in Gunbarrel, you can see the shed for yourself. Right next to it is a nice large barn with an American flag painted on it.