This is where my latest work can be seen including step-by-step progress reports, news and merchandising as well as features on artists, living and dead who I would like to draw people's attention to. Please note all my images are covered by International Copyright laws. Copyright to other artists images resides with the artist or their estate, their inclusion on this blog a result of my missionary zeal and to no profit for myself!

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Pump - stage 2

This is after the second colour pass for the sky, a couple of hours tomorrow should finish it.
Colours used were: Ultramarine Violet, Manganese Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Pale Violet, Permanent Orange, Brilliant Pink, Warm Light Yellow and Zinc White.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Pump - stage 1

Continuing with the theme of signs of human intervention in vast landscapes I decided to revisit a subject I painted earlier ("Rig") and have another oil pump in a vast flat Texan landscape. I didn't really feel that I had done the subject justice last time so this time it is the pump set against a flat horizon and a stormy threatening sky to try and get across the loneliness of the location. This is of course another painting in my The Big Sky  series.
This is the tonal underpainting stage which was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and then the tonal underpainting was dome with a rag using the same paint mix.
Oil on linen 30: x 20".

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Mail Box

I like this theme of signs of human intervention within vast often hostile natural landscapes, the South Western States being particularly suited to this theme. This is out in the boondocks of New Mexico with a rusting mail box by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, a small path leads off at the left to an unseen shack, a bit of the road surface can be seen in the far right corner. These pictures are kind of bittersweet in that it shows the struggle against Nature of people to live in such inhospitable environments made more so by the approaching storm... on the other hand it is kind of a celebration of people being able to do this in the first place.
Originally I had a couple of telegraph poles in the middle of the landscape breaking the horizon but I decided that they distracted you away from the main focus of the picture, the lonely mail box so I painted them out, being able to get away with it compositionally as it is approximately a third of the way in still breaking the horizon.
One more in my The Big Sky series. Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including the colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Mail Box - stage 5

I decided to paint out the two telegraph poles over my breakfast coffee this morning and then made a start on the landscape. I am being a bit cautious at first as I need to work out what colours to use on the landscape and have just roughed in some colours to see how they look. Colours used were: Permanent Sap Green, Bright Green Lake, Naples Yellow, Yellow Lake Deep, Permanent Orange, Magenta Violet, Ultramarine Violet, Brilliant Pink and Warm Light Yellow.
I am trying to get a nice variation of colours in the landscape as it is much more prominent now that I have deleted the telegraph poles and needs to look interesting.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Mail Box - stage 4

The sky is pretty much finished bar some tweaking later on and then I roughed in some more tone on the landscape. I am now debating whether to leave out the telegraph poles that are indeed halfway painted out already. Just having the mail box there by itself emphasises even more the loneliness of it's location, fortunately compositionally it breaks the horizon line too so I could get away with it.
As usual I will decide over tomorrow morning's breakfast coffee...

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Mail Box - stage 3

Second colour pass on the sky, just need a couple of hours tomorrow to finish it and then I will move on to the landscape. 

Monday, 29 June 2020

Mail Box - stage 2

A funny day yesterday, I just couldn't envisage in my mind what I was going to do with this picture and felt kind of catatonic so thank God I left it alone and resolved to start it today instead. Always a good idea to leave a painting alone if you don't know what you are doing!
 As usual over my breakfast coffee this morning I began to reconnect with what I wanted to do with "Mail Box" in terms of colour and lighting so I was able to get on with the first colour pass on the sky... except that once I had bashed in some colour I liked the orange against the blue and went with that instead! I was originally going to stick to the colours I used in my last painting....
Plenty of work left on the sky to get it right. The colours I used were: Phthalocyanine Turquoise, Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Orange, Prussian Blue, Warm Light Yellow and Zinc White - all Michael Harding paints.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Mail Box - stage 1

I'm going back to the theme of signs of human intervention within vast natural landscapes, this one being a mail box by the road in the boondocks of New Mexico. There is a path running from the left to some unknown shack out of the picture at right. These pictures are kind of bittersweet in that somebody is struggling against nature to survive in such an environment somewhat made more threatening by the approaching (?) storm... on the other hand it is kind of a celebration of human beings being able to do this in the first place... another in my The Big Sky series of paintings.
This is the tonal underpainting stage and was first "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin. Then when it was dry enough the tone was put in with a rag using the same paint mix.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".

Thursday, 25 June 2020

The Great Wall

Another painting located in Arches National Park in Utah where there is this line of mesas and buttes called The Great Wall with a lot of them having these flat green areas on their sides where something (glaciers?) has worn away the sides to look like this. Can't see how it could be wind or water that could have done this...
There have been some fantastic towering cumulus clouds inland from where I live in Southern England recently and these gave me the idea for this picture. I decided to have an area in the distance in sunlight the rest was to be in shadow to emphasise the whiteness of the clouds. 
This is of course another in my The Great Sky series.
Oil on linen 30" x 20"
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including the colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 22 June 2020

The Great Wall - stage 5

Painted the mid ground mesa today. All the mesas and buttes in this area have quite a distinctive feature to them, it looks like Nature has taken a giant sander and neatly sanded away the whole side of the mesa or it looks like something huge and green has neatly rubbed away the side leaving a green colour on all the flattened surface planes. I need to find out how this happened...
Anyway I stopped here today and leaving it alone until tomorrow as I might overpaint it too much and feel I need to proceed with caution so that I get the tones and colours right. So as usual I will have a look at it in the cold light of tomorrow over my breakfast coffee and see if it's OK so far...
New colour being used is Oxide of Chromium in addition to the colour mixes already in use.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

The Great Wall - stage 4

Finished the sky and have gone on to rough in the landscape. As can now be seen the distant mesa is catching some sunlight, everything else is in shadow; I am taking this bit slowly as I need to get the colour and tone right on the nearer mesa so I stopped where I am today and will have good look at it tomorrow morning to make the final decisions. I ran an Ultramarine Violet glaze over the foreground as I want to separate it from the redder sandstone mesa in the middle distance.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

The Great Wall - stage 3

Finished the sky today barring a few tweaks later on. I also gave the mid ground mesa a thin glaze of the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet mix to darken it as well as bringing out some of the structure ready for tomorrow's session. This mesa and the foreground landscape will be in shadow with some warm low sunlight hitting the mesa in the distance. The whole painting has been composed using The Rule Of Thirds which I use a lot.

Friday, 19 June 2020

The Great Wall - stage 2

One more day left to finish the sky, it's taking a while as it covers a quite large area of the picture. Normally I like to get in the sky in one session...
Colours used so far: Phthalocyanine Blue, Phthalo Green, Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Orange, Warm Light Yellow, Naples Yellow Reddish Extra and Zinc White.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

The Great Wall - stage 1

Another in my The Big Sky series this is a location in the Arches National Park in Utah called... The Great Wall. There have been some fantastic towering cumulus clouds recently where I live in Southern England and this gave me the idea for this picture. I am going to contrast the white of the towering clouds against the landscape and mesa in shadow although I am going to have the far mesa near the horizon in sunlight, at least that is the idea so far, I might change my mind tomorrow...
This is the tonal underpainting stage in which I used a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet mostly applied with a rag apart from the initial "drawing" up stage when I used a small bristle brush.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".

Monday, 15 June 2020

Elen sold

A painting that I took to IX in 2017 has just sold through Artfinder. This is the first sale that I have made since the lockdown and fortunately the timber merchants I use is now open again so I can get the plywood that I use for the box cut to size as normal. I did recently load up a lot of paintings onto the Artfinder site and looks like it was worth the effort (it took a few days to upload them all) as this was one of the new ones. 
Oil on linen 20" x 30".

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Rest Stop

As I do more more paintings in my The Big Sky series I am warming to this idea of choosing locations that show Man's efforts to live in these remote and often inhospitable places. Either they can be where man's interjections into the landscape are in some way successful like here or they show man's failure to make a go of it either for commercial/business reasons or the environmental conditions were too harsh. In this case in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico on Highway 60 is this rest stop where drivers can pull over and eat their lunch etc in the shade within the vast deserted landscape. 
I am getting more and more interested in trying to get across these vast spaces with little touches of man's presence within them always under the Big Sky. I am trying to make these places look beautiful in some way whilst retaining the often ordinariness of the location, kind of a hybrid of the Hudson River School and Edward Hopper!
At the composition stage I always try and introduce/find diagonals in a landscape as they add movement and dynamism to what is a static and potentially boring scene. I only use verticals and horizontals if I want a sense of peace and stillness. In this picture the diagonal comes from the line that connects the bush in the left corner to the red waste bin to the rest stop itself and finally the small isolated tree on the right near the horizon - I also emphasised the diagonal more by using the lighter strip of the path from the bin to the shelter to show up more against the ground around it.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including what colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Rest Stop - stage 5

Nearly finished the sky and have now roughed in some colour into the landscape. Using colours like, Naples Yellow, Yellow Lake Deep, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Orange, Brilliant Pink, Permanent Sap Green and a colour by Old Holland called Naples Yellow Reddish Extra (!). Still basing everything around a yellow/violet complementary.
Probably won't post any more on this until the finish....

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Rest Stop - stage 4

Still not quite finished the sky so I got it ready to finish tomorrow after it drying overnight and also painted in some more of the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet mix over the foreground.
I always try and introduce/find diagonals in landscapes as they add movement and dynamism to what is essentially a static and potentially boring scene. In this picture the diagonal comes from the line that connects the bush in the left corner to the waste bin to the rest stop itself and finally to the small isolated tree on the right neat the horizon. It doesn't have to be a drawn/painted line, in this case it's the way the different elements connect.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Rest Stop - stage 3

The first colour pass on the sky, I would normally like to get the whole pass done in one session but this was not possible due to the area to be covered. Maybe it's just as well as it means I can look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow and see if it's going the way I want it to. The picture is based on a yellow/violet complementary and was conceived with the sky being soft and subtle so that the foreground really stands out. Colours used were: Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Orange, Warm Light Yellow, Lemon Yellow and Zinc White - all Michael Harding.
As is my current method of working I use transparent colours for the sky and clouds, the only exception here being Warm Light Yellow.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Rest Stop - stage 2

I chose which sky I wanted to do over my breakfast coffee this morning and the painted in the tonal underpainting using the same colour mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and applied with a rag. Decided on a dark sky above the horizon with the landscape picking up a low afternoon sun.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Rest Stop - stage 1

As I do more paintings in my The Big Sky series I am warming to this idea of choosing locations where there are signs of Man's efforts to live in these remote and often inhospitable places, sometimes one's that have failed sometimes not. In this case in the middle of nowhere on Highway 60 in New Mexico there is this Rest Stop where somebody can pull over and eat their lunch etc in the shade within a vast deserted landscape. I am interested in trying to get across these vast spaces by use of the sky above them allied to distant horizons all lit in such a way that makes a very ordinary place become somehow beautiful... kind of a hybrid of the Hudson River School and Edward Hopper!
This is the "drawing" up stage using a small bristle brush and a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin. Tomorrow I will do the tonal underpainting when I have made my final decision about what kind of sky and colours it's going to be over my breakfast coffee.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Crossing

I wanted to get across the loneliness and isolation of a railroad crossing in New Mexico and decided on a dusk scene with the lightest part of the sky visually at the end of the railway tracks as they near the horizon. Although it is dusk I didn't want it to be too dark so I proceeded quite cautiously using glazes mainly of Ultramarine Violet on the landscape until I reached the right tonality for the sense of distance to work. I based the composition around The Rule of Thirds wanting a quite strong and dynamic design using the diagonals of the railway tracks etc but tempered by a soft and melancholy light. It is based around a yellow/violet colour complementary, the colours I used can be found in earlier posts of the painting on this blog.
I think I will develop this theme of signs of man on the landscape kind of left abandoned amidst these vast landscapes of the South West. I am now learning to slow down my bull in a china shop way of starting another painting immediately and am discovering that if I hold off for a day or two it gives the idea a chance to be examined in my head and refined or abandoned etc. It hopefully minimises the chance of painting a dud because it hadn't been thought through properly earlier on.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress though this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Crossing - stage 4

Finished the sky and have moved on to roughing in the landscape. I don't want a large tonal difference between the crossing and the sky behind it as I don't want it to stand out too much so I'm proceeding quite cautiously at the moment. One dilemma is do I use thick or thin paint now? My usual mantra is "It's the painting not the place!" meaning that the painting and how it has been painted is more important than the subject/location but with this one it seems it should be "The feeling is more important than the painting".  Most current landscape painting is about thicker paint loosely applied but with a final result of disrupted realism. I feel that I have to go my own way on this one and be true to myself and paint it how it comes natural to me. The way I'm painting this one so far has been thin paint quite sketchily applied but when you move back to look at it from a few feet away the sketchy marks coalesce into something quite realistic, even photographic.
Colours used for the landscape are Permanent Sap Green, Chromium Green, Permanent Orange, Ultramarine Violet, Manganese Violet and Winsor Violet.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Crossing - stage 3

First colour pass on the sky. I have realised that what I was looking for for this one is something Tonalist so I worked out this morning over my breakfast coffee that it would suit a subtle yellow/violet colour complementary. Keeping to my new method of using only transparent colours for the sky I used mixes of Burnt Sienna, Winsor Violet, Zinc White, Lemon Yellow and a tiny amount of Yellow Lake Deep.
I then gave the landscape and crossing another layer of the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet glaze.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Crossing - stage 2

After dithering about how I wanted the sky to look for a couple of days I finally got my act together this morning and decided on a quiet evening sky with elongated clouds as I want this painting to have a peaceful, lonely atmosphere as a counterpoint to the strong composition. I have put the lightest part of the sky away from the railroad crossing as I don't want to over emphasise it against the sky and putting it nearer to the crossing makes it dominate the painting too much because of the contrast of dark against light.
This tonal underpainting stage used the same paint mix as yesterday thinned with Liquin and applied with a rag.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Crossing - stage 1

This one will have a quite dynamic composition (based on The Rule of Thirds) but tempered by a soft and melancholy lighting. The lonely railroad crossing in New Mexico will be set against a dusk sky so a quiet kind of atmosphere is what I'm after which I hope will emphasise the loneliness of the location. This is the Plan anyway, final decisions will be made tomorrow over my breakfast coffee as usual.
During the Lockdown I have slightly changed my working method in that normally as soon as a painting is finished I rush on to the next one which is why there is a certain hit and miss element to my work. But during the Lockdown because there is more time available to work with I am deliberately holding myself back from immediately starting another painting and making myself wait to see if the idea still stands up the next day. Usually by giving it more time there seems to be a chance to re evaluate what I am thinking about and refine the idea or indeed dump it too when I realise it wasn't good enough!
This stage was "drawn" up with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Valley of the Rocks

Valley of the Rocks is the translation of the Navajo name for Monument Valley in Utah/Arizona where this picture is located. This is the third painting I have done of this view from the road, a monochrome "Navajo" and "Desert Daybreak" being the others. I quite liked the ambiguous day/night lighting of the previous picture so I thought that I would try it again with this one. I think it gives the pictures a kind of magical dreamlike quality which is fine by me as these are not plein air paintings and are not trying to emulate the usual way of depicting these scenes, they are my take on these landscapes.
These paintings of American landscapes are really aimed at American collectors and now that I have enough pictures I'm happy with and the website is now revamped the time has come to see if I can get some American galleries interested to which end I will now start submitting them to my first eight target galleries...
As usual I generally used the Rule Of Thirds for the composition and like the last one it is based around a blue/orange colour complementary using the same colours pretty much. 
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including the colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Valley of the Rocks - stage 5

Pretty much finished the sky and made a start on the landscape. Taking it quite tentatively as I am looking for a sense of a lot of distance so I am trying to be not too heavy with the paint on the mesas and trying to keep them a bit light and sketchy. If the paint is too thick or dark the mesas will come too far forwards, the plan is to have quite a dark foreground to contrast with the middle and far distance as I am trying to get across the vast space of the landscape. For colour unity I am using the same colours in the landscape as the sky.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Valley of the Rocks - stage 4

Worked on the sky today, another hour tomorrow and it should be finished. I also darkened the main mesa in readiness for making a start on the landscape tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Valley of the Rocks - stage 3

First colour pass on the sky - I couldn't get all of the sky done in one session as it covers too great an area so I left it like this for today as I didn't want to hurry it. Colours used were Prussian Blue, Phthalocyanine Blue, Permanent Orange, Unbleached Titanium, Lemon Yellow, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon and Zinc White.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Valley of the Rocks - stage 2

This is the tonal underpainting stage using my usual mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin mostly applied with a rag apart from the foreground bushes which I have put in early with a brush as it helps me visualise the space and distance in the landscape.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Valley of the Rocks - stage 1

Valley of the Rocks is the translation of the Navajo name for Monument Valley where this picture is located. I have painted this location before ("Desert Daybreak") but feel that I never gave this view from the road the justice that it deserves so I'm painting it again in a larger format. I am going to paint it like the last picture in this ambiguous day/night lighting that I have developed as it seems to give a magical dreamlike feel. As usual I have composed it with the Rule of Thirds as it gives a satisfying look to the composition.
I "drew" up this stage very simply with a small bristle brush using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin in the morning and then when it was dry I applied a glaze of the same colour mix with a rag just to put in some simple tone in the afternoon. I could have started on the sky but I don't want to rush it and prefer to spend tomorrow on the tonal underpainting of the sky area instead. What's the hurry? All this lockdown time makes me less in a hurry and I can be more relaxed with my working time.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Keeler

Following on from the last picture I decided to do another moonlit landscape, wanting to keep it quite light in tone despite being a night painting. However the final result has produced something quite interesting in that the time of day is now ambiguous which I think gives it a somewhat magical feel and is fine by me and something to explore a bit more methinks...
I am getting into this idea of very ordinary buildings usually out in the boonies juxtaposed with the extraordinary landscapes that they are located in. 
I had come across Keeler in a TV documentary I had just seen about the controversial engineer William Mulholland who had set up the first water supply for Los Angeles from here in Owens Valley in the early 1900s. Keeler is this forgotten small town in the valley near where a lake once was.
The picture is based around a blue/orange complementary, details of the colours I used can be found in earlier posts on this blog.
This is another in my The Big Sky series of which I think I have enough now to show to a few US galleries particularly as I have now uploaded the revamped website.
Oil on linen 20" x 16".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting in previous posts on this blog.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Keeler - stage 3

The sky is finished and have painted the first colour pass on the landscape using pretty much the same colours plus Naples Yellow and Permanent Sap Green. I won't post any more updates on this one, the next post will be the finished scan. Although it's a night painting I have tried to keep it on the light side... I'm not sure which way people will see this one, a night painting or a day painting with the sun obscured by high cloud. I quite like the ambiguity, it gives it a somewhat magical feel...

Website Redesigned

Trying to make good use of all this lockdown time and in addition to the new paintings I have also redesigned my website as it was out of date and tired-looking. I am planning on approaching some USA galleries with my "The Big Sky" series and felt that if there was any interest I would need an up-to-date website as back up for background info like my biography etc. I am only showing work from the last four years although there is a link to my old work that I keep on some Pinterest pages in case anybody wanted to see it. I have tried to keep it simple with no bells and whistles and although I don't think websites are as important as they used to be (social media seems to have taken over) it is always good to have a place where people can see what you do anytime and anywhere on the planet.
Here is a link to it, if you spot anything not working please let me know:
https://paintingsbymarkharrison.com/

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Keeler - stage 2

First colour pass on the sky, trying to keep the whole picture a bit lighter than the last one as there is more distance to try and convey. I used pretty much the same colours as the last picture; Prussian Blue, Permanent Orange, Lemon Yellow, Lead Tin Yellow Lemon, Zinc White and Unbleached Titanium.... mostly transparent colours again.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Keeler - stage 1

Following on from the last picture I decided to do another moonlit landscape this time in California, a small town called Keeler that I had seen in a TV documentary about William Mulholland, the controversial engineer that designed and built the water supply for Los Angeles from here in the Owens Valley in the early 1900s.
I like to choose in one way a very ordinary building or settlement and emphasise the often extraordinary landscape that it it is in with lighting and weather etc.  In this case the barren waterless landscape of the Owens Valley where there was once a lake that has now disappeared as Los Angeles grew and the demand for water increased.
This is the first tonal underpainting stage which I used a mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and applied first with a small bristle brush for the "drawing" in and then with a rag once the 'drawing" had dried sufficiently.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Frontage Road

This is located right out in the boonies of Utah as I don't particularly want to paint well-known or iconic landscape or urban locations as in the end these paintings are about colour and mood and not necessarily about the place itself.
I had a particular lighting situation in mind for this one, a bright moonlit landscape i.e. not too dark but still reading as night time. I think I've got it but not that sure, I didn't want it to look like a fantasy landscape yet I wanted a certain magical feel to it.... oh well on to the next one.
The whole picture has been painted pretty much with transparent colours, a direction that I will continue to explore. 
Oil on linen 20" x 16".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including what colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Frontage Road - stage 4

Finished the sky bar a few later tweaks and tentatively working on the landscape now. I think I am going to work on top of it with scumblings and glazes of blues to get to the look of how I see it in my imagination. I will decide over tomorrow morning's first coffee of the day...

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Frontage Road - stage 3

Painted in the second colour pass on the sky but will be finished tomorrow as I need to work on the foreground and landscape first to get the right tone of sky at the horizon - I have a specific look I'm looking for, a night scene but actually relatively light and dusty looking so I will be proceeding with caution. Same colour mixes as yesterday.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Frontage Road - stage 2

Completely cocked up yesterday and got the wrong location and therefore the wrong title for this painting! It is in fact on a road in the middle of nowhere called Frontage Road in Utah...
So, as before this will be a moonlit landscape to which end I have painted the first colour pass on the sky as well as giving the landscape an extra glaze of the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet mix.
The picture is based around a blue - orange colour complementary, mixes of the following colours being used: Prussian Blue, Permanent Orange, Lemon Yellow and Zinc White. As in the last painting I am using transparent colours for the sky.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Moon Over Onion Creek - stage 1

Going to try a moonlit sky over another landscape in Utah near Onion Creek. Hoping to get atmosphere and a sense of distance on this one by not making the landscape too dark considering that it's night time. This is just the first step of the tonal underpainting using my usual mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin and and applied with a rag.
Oil on linen 20" x 16".

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

La Sal

Seeing as I'm enjoying the Desert South West and Arches National Park in particular this is another contre-jour of a nearby location to the last one, La Sal Viewpoint. I wanted to do a picture with some more distance in it with less emphasis on the butte and more on the sky to which end I decided to use transparent colours so that they look a bit more insubstantial (I feel earlier clouds in paintings have looked too heavy for something that is meant to be floating). I wanted a more translucent look to the sky so instead of just painting it in one colour it is in fact three glazes of thin transparent colour over the white of the canvas, first the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet mix, then a subdued lemon yellow layer and finally a glaze of a very subdued green/blue. The thin strip of orange/pink was always an integral part of the composition which incidentally very much follows the Rule Of Thirds with the placement of horizon and butte. The picture is based around a green/blue - red/orange complementary although quite subdued apart from the line of colour on the horizon.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including what colours were used in previous posts on this blog.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

La Sal - stage 5

Pretty much finished the sky apart from a few tweaks later and then I roughed in the landscape with the transparent Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet mix ready for the opaque colour going on tomorrow. The pink/orange band of light on the horizon is an important part of the composition but is not that apparent yet.

Friday, 24 April 2020

La Sal - stage 4

Applied a second layer of transparent paint to the clouds and have got it near to finishing now, just an hour or so's work tomorrow should do it. Also gave the landscape another glaze of the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet mix so it's starting to look like how I want the lighting to be, the desert at dusk.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

La Sal - stage 3

First colour pass on the sky in terms of the clouds for which I am using transparent paint to build them up subtly as I want them to look lighter and more insubstantial. Colours used for the clouds were mixes of Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Permanent Orange, Brilliant Pink, Warm Light Yellow and Zinc White.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

La Sal - stage 2

I don't know if it's going to work yet but over the basic Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet glaze I have added a yellow/green glaze and on top of that a more blue/green glaze as I want the sky to look a bit translucent with the colours showing through each other. Colours used were Manganese Blue Hue, Winsor Violet, Pale Violet, Permanent Orange, Lemon Yellow and Zinc White.
I start painting in the clouds over this tomorrow, the plan being to use mostly transparent colours as I have done so far with the sky. The white strip at the horizon is for a pink/orange....
I also added some more tone into the landscape using the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet mix.

Monday, 20 April 2020

La Sal - stage 1

Following on from the last picture this is going to be another contre jour of a nearby location called La Sal Viewpoint in the Arches National Park. I want to do a vaster landscape with less emphasis on an iconic butte so that it is more about the landscape and sky. This will be another dusk painting but set at a slightly later time than "Tower of Babel" and will be centred around a blue/green - red/orange complementary... at least that's the plan. I am going to paint the sky in a different way this time with darker clouds scumbled over a yellow/green sky with some long thin clouds near the horizon with a strip of pink/orange showing through in places. I normally rough the clouds in at the tonal underpainting stage... but not this time as I want to see if I can get them to look a bit more insubstantial and looking like they are floating in the sky better than previous efforts.
This is the first tonal underpainting stage "drawn"up with a small bristle brush and then some tone applied with a rag later on using the same paint mix of Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet thinned with Liquin.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Tower of Babel

I fancied doing another South West Desert painting this time looking towards the light (contre jour) as I used to for many years previously. I try to avoid colourful sunsets as I find them a bit corny and much prefer the time after sunset towards dusk when I find the light more mysterious. I wanted to get across that time when the sun has gone down and the land is cooling off after the heat of the day as well as trying to get a sense of distance to get across the vastness of these spaces.
This mesa is called Tower of Babel and can be found in Arches National Park Utah. I love the red of the sandstone and based the painting on a yellow/violet complementary using the violet as the red of the mesa and landscape and a blue/violet for the clouds.
The painting of the mesa is not as tight as it looks and is really made up of semi opaque scumbles painted quite quickly over the Burnt Sienna/Winsor Violet underpainting glaze. The ground in the foreground is the same underpainting glaze broken up by the patches of bushes, the white of the canvas showing through the glaze giving it a slight glow. I noticed that Maxfield Parrish did a lot of that.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including the colours I used in previous posts on this blog.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Tower of Babel - stage 5

I will wait to do any glazes for the sky until the landscape is finished as I will be better able to tell then if it needs any or not.
Worked on the mesa today and have got it nearer to how I saw in it in my imagination, dark but not too dark with a bit of variation in colour by introducing some violet into it occasionally. I then darkened the foreground landscape and some of the landscape surrounding the mesa - I am still not sure how I'm going to paint the landscape near the horizon yet so I worked on the foreground first. I will decide tomorrow morning as usual over my breakfast coffee!
I probably won't post another update on the progress and will wait until it's finished for the next.