Tuesday, March 1, 2011

next and last steps in the anza-borrego desertscape

anza-borrego: palm canyon to font's point (next step)
from a distance of twenty feet or so the distant mountains and the near hillside on the left blended together due to being very close in value.  so the first thing that i did was strengthen the edge of the near hillside and created some separation.  that being done i turned my attention to the foreground rocks.  i put some yellowish pigment near the bottoms of them to suggest some reflected light and painted the darker portions with combinations of both prussian and ultramarine blue, raw umber, raw sienna, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna, and even some permanent alizarin crimson mixed almost entirely on the paper. i mostly painted the top of the rocks toward the light (upper right) with the siennas. when each of these was starting to lose its sheen i scraped off the highlighted edges with a palette knife.  the timing of this is a bit critical so you might have to experiment if you are trying this and haven't done it before. some mid-distance plants with their respective shadows were added as the last thing in this step. i got some fresh, clean water and stretched at this point.

"anza-borrego: palm canyon to font's point" (finished painting) 
when i got back 10-15 minutes later i started on the ocotillos. on my trip the other day i did find out that the flowers were more toward the orange-red than i remembered so i will have to remedy that. i described the way i decided to paint these last time by painting the stems over droplets of water. i thought that looked okay and finished them off that way using ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, quinacridone gold, and oxide of chromium for the stems and combinations of rose, cadmium yellow medium, and cadmium red light for the blossoms. i got a little carried away with the whole "spritzing" thing but in the end i think leaving that way was okay. i put in some finishing touches by spattering different sizes of spatters in the middle and foreground to simulate rocks and debris. that's it for this project.  i think that i did like both of the new techniques that i tried in this painting and would utilize them again in other landscapes should the opportunity arise. thanks for watching along.

the next painting i haven't decided on yet, but am thinking pretty seriously of another portrait or figure. i will probably start the drawing this evening and start painting in the morning.  'til then, be well.


  1. Wow Bob, this just turned out beautifully! I love the contrast of the warm and cool colors.
    The rocks are so iridescent and lovely... but for some reason my eye is drawn to the fantastic pink of the sand just behind them. I can almost feel the desert warmth...

  2. thanks for your comments, heidi. my intention with the red was to not only warm up the foreground and move it forward but also to add a foil to what i knew would be somewhat cooler rocks. glad it worked for you.