A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Thursday the Painting class went up toward Conejos Canyon, to paint in Josie's neighborhood at Bear Creek. June is magical there; the Aspens are finally out and twinkling in the breeze, and deep stands of trees are lit like a fairy forest. I never tire of painting there. This shot shows my sketch sitting on the easel and my finished under painting.
Dave Montgomery joined us and was a great addition to our outing - not to mention his valuable insight at critique time. Thanks Dave. Click on the photo to get a bigger view of his piece.
Margaret Jones here, is intent at mixing and behind her is Dee Bartee. This area has enough material to keep us entertained for years; a pond, a river, waterfalls, tall pine forests, distant canyon walls and deep aspen forests. The only part I don't like about this place is leaving. Thanks Josie, for being such a great hostess.
Below is my piece - a view into the woods as the sun filtered through the tree tops.


Class Notes on Neutrals: What Color Is It?

The star if this little demo is the "Brown" bag.
What color is a brown bag? What color is BROWN.
When seeing neutrals the temptation is to give them the generic title of BROWN or GREY. But how does that play out in the mixing?
The limited palette we use in class has 2 yellows, 2 reds and 2 blues;
mix those primary colors together to create orange, green and violet. So where is BROWN on that darn color wheel.
BROWNs, GREYs - and all neutrals must have some color base.
Is it cool, meaning green, blue or violet based?
Or is it warm, meaning yellow, orange or red based?

To me the BROWN bag seemed "yellow". At least yellow described it better than any other color in the color wheel.
With yellow as my base, at least I know where to start mixing. But HOW do I get BROWN?
Another way to say it would be: How do I get that neutral version of yellow? Gee, I thought you'd never ask.
Mix yellow with its complement- VIOLET!
In the end, or should I say, in the beginning - every neutral starts with a color base. Pick a color on the color wheel that most resembles the neutral you want to mix; then begin to "neutralize" that color with the complement - the color directly across the color wheel.
Viola! Brown; and not just any BROWN, but a neutral golden yellow that makes the little bag sing.

Soward Ranch Paint Out

These are some snaps from the Plein Air Paint Out to support the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust. The flat mountiain on the left is Bristol Head early in the morning as we headed to the Soward Ranch from Santa Maria. The ranch is somewhere down past the clouds.
A beautiful morning but win-deeee. Here Dave Roepke looks pretty relaxed - don't believe it. Bristol Head is in the background.
Two hours later Sue McCullough wrapped up a fabulous piece of Bristol Head. This was not a day for the faint of heart. We would stand in 40 mph gusts and just hold the easel, with both hands, minutes at a time until the wind died down a bit.

Dave Montgomery
here, is living dangerously and about to do an impersonation of Mary Poppins with that umbrella.
I used to think WIND was a deal breaker but these 2 paint outs for the Land Trust have force me to paint in extreme wind situations I never though possible. Amazing what you can do when you have to.

These are my two pieces from the day, both 8x10. The morning sun just glowed across this pond toward the little cabin. As noon approached "weather" seemed to come at us from all directions and when the thunder started to roll we packed it in.
Some of the other artists involved were: Stephen Quiller, Karen Bonnie, and Charles Ewing. To learn more about the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust and why it is important - click this link.