Month: September 2010

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.



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…



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.


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.

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