This painting was a lot of fun! It's been many, many years since I've painted a wall sized mural and since starting to paint a couple years ago, have been using canvases no larger than 9x12 inches. This 48x36" canvas was given to me by a friend. There are a lot of unused art supplies in people's closets, and I am the fortunate beneficiary this time.
After preparing the surface, it was ready to become my first large painting. Time to paint!
For many years we did extensive back country skiing in Canada. Everywhere we went offered spectacular scenery and lighting. Trying to get photos of the gorgeous light and colors wasn't possible with cold hands and a very basic camera and I always wanted to paint what I saw. The scene on this blog's home page is my first mountain painting (8x22") but the big canvas inspired me to do another backcountry scene.
I started by making color samples and value studies.
The photo reference was one hazy mass of vague shapes due to the glare from the low morning sun. Many ski trips found us far from the road by the time sunlight reached the valleys. This was a beautiful time to be in the trackless snow fields under towering peaks.
There are numerous problems with the above value study; primarily the light is coming from all over the place! Hmmmm....should have looked a bit more closely before putting all that paint on....
A few more value sketches were done then I just jumped in and laid out the idea on the big canvas.
I don't like the direction this is going. At this point I painted over much of it and made it much lighter in value, and changed the light to come from the left side of the picture. The sun is still behind the mountain, the night's clouds are breaking up and floating away in the warming (relatively speaking) air and each angle of slope reflects a different amount of light.
This is starting to work better but it's a long way from finished. I've saved adding the people into the scene until now. There were seven of us on this trip but that was too many for this picture; but since everyone is bundled up and unrecognizable, we can each imagine we are there in the picture.
By this time life got a bit complicated due to the need to wear a Big Black Boot for 6 weeks.
Suddenly I was very appreciative of Frieda Kahlo's challenges, and her courage and commitment to her art.
Oops, there are some awkward things going on with the clothes and positions of people, not apparent in this dark and blurry photo so this is still very much a work in progress. Shadows, clouds, people...all need some adjustments. Keep working!
This painting took about two weeks to do. At this time it's 'finished'. The quotes mean it gets put away for a while, then taken out to review. Anything that shows up then gets fixed, or if it's the best I can do at this time, it's really done.
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