El Capitan Part III

More photos as the painting progresses. I didn’t work on it a much yesterday, but continued today, although I am painting on it only 2-4 hours a day. I have put in most of El Capitan itself and the surrounding cliffs. The top half of the painting is 2/3 done. Once most of it is complete, I will add scattered clouds, etc, and give some parts more definition.

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My palette here consists of: Ultramarine Blue, Cobolt Blue, Quinacridone Red, Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Red Dark, Sap Green, Transparent Iron Oxide, Cadmium Orange, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Yellow Medium. I occasionally use other colors, but this is my primary palatte.

I usually mix a combination of Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Red to form a purple. I also mix Cobolt Blue and Cadmium Red Dark to get a rich gray.

El Capitan Part II

I am continuing to work on the El Capitan large painting. The sky and distant hills are about 75% complete. I generally work an area until it is about 2/3 to 3/4 complete until the entire painting is covered. Many times I don’t have to go back or add to a particular area, but once I judge the work as a whole, can add detail, adjust values, adjust color, etc. to make the entire painting work. Below is the painting at the current stage, plus a closer look at the top half…

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The quick snapshots above seemed to wash out a lot of the color, but hopefully you get the idea.

El Capitan

It has been quite awhile since I have done a large work. During this economic downturn, I have concentrated more on smaller pieces which tend to sell better (I am not an artist mercenary, though!). In August, I finished a painting of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley from 4 Mile Trail. The gallery owners were so taken with it, they said I should do a similar large painting. I actually had a larger piece started some years ago, but wanted to paint on a gallery wrap canvas, so I started a new one from scratch. This is the painting I did then–

El Capitan, Yosemite

With the larger piece, I wanted to zoom in on El Capitan just a little more as I wanted the size of the canvas and the massive granite edifice to ‘overwhelm’ the viewer. Of course any painting of El Capitan pales in insignificance to the real experience!

I will chronicle the stages as I progress through the painting on this weblog, as many always express interest in how a painting develops. I started with a small, quick color sketch on a 8×10 panel just to get the colors I wanted. I then sketched and blocked in the painting on a 48×36 canvas, which is below. I did not do a very detailed sketch/block in as I can work off the small color sketch, plus know El Capitan with all its cracks and crevasses fairly well.

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You can see the small color sketch in the lower left of the picture above. Since I already have a color sketch, and know the subject matter, in this case, I generally paint from top down, distant to near.