The Next Stage

October 3, 2011

Yes, I know it has been several weeks since I have managed to post to my Blog.  I have been recovering from Bronchitis an juggling several other projects here as well.   So tonight I’ll offer you a sampling of my latest painting project and walk you through it’s stages of development.

What is this new subject?  Hamilton Pools!
For those new to our lovely hill country, Hamilton Pools is a gem in our own backyard just outside of Austin. Best known for it’s scenic sunken grotto featuring 45ft waterfalls, massive rock overhangs and hiking trails to the Perdenales River.  Well, it’s somewhat more like dripping falls in our drought here.  Even in the warmest summer, the natural lake is quite cool.  It is however , most of a 1/2 mile high down to the pool. But it’s definitely humbling and breathtaking to see and worth planning a day for picnicking to calm your nerves a bit..

Photographs hardly capture the beauty of this marvel. Seriously, I had to piece several photos together to reference the distance across the lake, not to mention to adjust for the change in lighting under the cavern.  I can only hope that I can capture it’s impression and vastness with my painting.  I realized after a few initial sketches it was very clear that a small painting would always feel cramped and and limited in translating the vastness of Hamilton Pools.

But I do have to start somewhere. So Once I had determined that I definitely wanted to work the composition in a 1:3 ratio. I started by enlarging my sketch to 18″x36″ drawing to work out the scale and values. It will simplify conversions for a larger panels later as well.

Sketch for Hamilton Pool.

I prepped this color study on two 18″ square panel boards, and designed the composition across them.  Why, did I choose panels rather than canvas? The cradle board panels offer the ability to seamlessly piece multiple panels together.  Not to mention the added advantage of less warping, square gallery depth edges and they don’t require a frame later.

The second part of the challenge would come in determining a workable color scheme.  Establishing solid atmospheric perspective (depth) will be influenced by the color choices.  I started by laying in a violet under painting, to establish warmth and depth for the cliff work.

Underpainting.

I continued to layer colors and work the transitions between warm and cool patterns.

Hamilton Pool, stage 1.

Hamilton Pool, stage 5.

The study is close but not quite there yet.

Test editing

So in my time away from the studio, I have used photo shop to work out what I want to develop further.  It helps me test potential color changes before I jump back into it.  It lets me live with it a bit too.  I’ll post an updated version soon with the resolved areas.  So stay tuned.

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