Tuesday, September 25, 2012


PEDERNALES FALLS    8x10   oil on canvas panel

This is one I tried to post last week right after finishing the painting.  I had taken a series of step-by-step photos to show the progression of one my plein air paintings.  After spending a couple of hours preparing photos and writing comments on the step-by-step, I inadvertently touched a wrong key, and... (stumble) everything disappeared.  It was the end of the day, I was tired, and I just didn’t have it in me to re-create it.  I decided to wait until I could look back at it and see the humor.  I still don’t gag with laughter, but I decided to put it up in a very abbreviated format, without my incredible wit and wisdom from the original version, for better or worse.  

Here's the scene I was painting:

Step one:  My NOTAN sketch.  (from a Japanese word used to describe the harmonious arrangement of 2D, light and dark shapes)  It’s a quick way to begin by designing rather than 
rendering, and it provides a strong basis for what’s to come.

Step two:  I often use exaggerated hues to separate the major light and shadow shapes.  This is fun to put other color over, and can end up giving some surprising and interesting color notes. 

 Step three:  Covering the major shapes with the approximate values and color notes.  I’m thinking of flat, abstract shapes at this point, with little concern for edge quality.

Step four:  (see the finish avove)   Refining.  Time to give attention to shape accuracy, edge quality (lost/found, hard/soft...).  Tuning up colors and temperature relationships.  Developing the emphasis in the focal area using contrasts of edges, colors, values, detail, texture.  Adding a bit of color sparks and calligraphy (lines, dots and dashes that help to indicate scale, and tie things together). 


  1. Great work! I love the step by step demonstration and find that very instructional.