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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Landscape Painting #3

I painted in the lines of this landscape Sunday night and then forgot to photograph it before I started blocking it in; I remembered soon after.

As you can see I started with a deep green.

And then worked in an even deeper shade of purple for the darkest shadows.

This is when the fun started! I began squinting my eyes to see the major shapes which then helped me know where to place the blocks of colors.

The light cream colored trees and their branches added the needed contrast to the deeper shades of green. This color also ties in well with the fencing, path and rocks.

And then it was time to start adding texture, detail and light. The palette knife, once again, became very useful as I applied thicker paint.

10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

It was another gorgeous day in North Yorkshire. We had just climbed up to Guise Cliff where we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the valley. (At the top it is enjoyable to sit on the bench and overlook the villages, Glasshouses and Pateley Bridge.)

I was fortunate to be hiking with someone who knew this area well; our new found friend and guide, Ken, suggested a less common way down and I eagerly agreed to the adventure. I wanted to experience as much of this area as possible - so why go down the same way we hiked up? As we passed sheep in pastures and crossed through stiles, we came upon a gate which led down a grassy hill. We climbed over this gate and headed down. I paused when we reached the bottom; the entry into this wooded area was beguiling  to me. This path seemed as though it was beckoning me forward. It was cool and quiet. As we walked, the ground crunched with thin layers of ice on the wooded floor. My walking stick became very useful at this point and kept me from slipping. Bits of light filtered in and at that moment I felt so blessed to be there experiencing this precious part of England on a cold February day.

P.S. I was always amazed at how green everything was during the winter months in North Yorkshire. Many of the trees dropped their leaves and yet there were others that held theirs. This added charm to an already charming place.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Landscape Painting #2

It was a news worthy day for weather in North Yorkshire; everyone was talking about the snow that was predicted. As I bundled up for a walk to the village, Pateley Bridge, I could see the storm coming. The clouds were heavy and the air was thick and cold. Coming from Colorado where winter snow storms are common, I was excited to get outside and walk to the village store, Elliot's Deli, and bring my camera to shoot some nice wintry scenes along the way.

The path to Pateley Bridge from Glasshouses is scenic regardless of the weather or time of year. The River Nidd makes it picturesque as it winds along with you as you walk.

This is one of the many scenes along the way that impressed me with its beauty. The small bridge crossing over the river and reflected in the glassy cold water was breathtaking.

The tall, leafless trees added drama to my view and allowed me to see beyond the foreground and into the snowy white distance.

Winter Reflections On The River Nidd
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
As you can see from my stages, I painted from  light to dark, starting with the white sky. Painting the dark branches into the wet paint of the sky softened them. To complete the painting I used a palette knife to apply thick paint to the snow in the foreground, the tall golden grasses, as well as for the snow on the tree branches.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Landscape Painting #1

Miles away from the fast paced beat of London, traveling comfortably by train, I discovered the idyllic countryside of North Yorkshire where foot paths outnumber winding roads, beckoning me to explore.

From higher ground I noticed that the shire looked like a patchwork quilt and the charming villages seemed inner-connected by a common thread of stone fences and rolling green hills.

On this particular afternoon my husband, Robert and I walked the path along the River Nidd from the village, Glasshouses, to a larger village called Summerbridge. It was a two mile walk with pleasant surprises, like this bridge, along the way. I decided to paint this scene for sentimental reasons. It brings back fond memories of walking under this large archway of "The Old Railway Bridge". There were two of these arches, one on either side of the river, with the middle section covering the river having long ago fallen down.

After blocking in the main colors I started painting in the details....moss covered branches, the aged stone of the bridge, fences and fields in the background...I took my time using a brush and a palette knife.

The Old Railway Bridge
8x10", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

The path, dappled in light, invited me to go  forward.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Unique Graduation Gift

This painting is in complete contrast to the North Yorkshire series that I have been working on.

Extra Curricular
14x11", Oil on canvas
This still life painting represents a young man's extra curricular activities while in high school. As a painter I find it interesting and a nice change of pace to gain inspiration from some one's interests and accomplishments which result in  painting subject matter that I would not have otherwise imagined painting. His passions vary from sports to music and my challenge was to convey that to the viewer as well as create a keepsake of original art, a unique graduation gift, that will tell a story of this special time in his life.

 Where does the inspiration come from? It did not come from seeing this guitar, or the colorful combination of the ski goggles, helmet, or the edgy line designs on the skis. It came from the person these objects represent.

At this stage I started painting in all similar colors of golds and rusts throughout the painting. This saves time and energy when time is of the essence.

I mixed black by combining equal parts of Ultramarine Blue and Transparent Oxide Red together and then painted in as much of the black as  I could.

Next, I painted in the white with Titanium White mixed with a small dab of the Ultramarine Blue and an even smaller amount of Transparent Oxide Red. Once the white was in, I could paint more of the detail like the netting on the lacrosse stick.

The  drama for me came when I was finally able to add color; pink, lavender and orange on the helmet strap, the yellow lacrosse ball and then the red on the ski goggles.

  At this point I realized that the background looked incomplete. A multi-colored background seemed more appropriate for a multi-faceted person. I applied the paint with a palette knife and then softened the sharp edges with a filbert brush.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Painting Sheep XII: Stages 1-7, Completed

This ewe was in a different setting from my previous subjects and her surroundings humored me. She seemed quite comfortable keeping company with these two chickens; they add a certain ambiance to any scene and in this case, they make me smile.

Once again, I painted wet into wet paint, but instead of blocking it in first, I decided to complete each section as I go. It was getting late and I needed encouragement to keep me going.  
I started with her face.

And with a number 4, filbert brush, I added thick paint to her body.

I felt like I was piecing together a jigsaw puzzle and I needed to complete at least one piece of it before going on to the rest.

I'm really enjoying the palette knife. When it comes to interpreting a sheep's woolly coat, I love the rich texture it creates.
With the basics of the ewe complete, I felt re-energized and ready to complete the rest of the painting.

Next came the background of a lovely stone wall and then the chickens, adding contrast and personality.
Sheep Painting Series Study XII
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
 I wish you could see this little painting in person and be able to view it at a distance. The colors and textures of the thick paint seem to work together better when one steps back to look at it. Hopefully it would be entertaining to you close up and from across the room; my goal with all of my paintings.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Painting Sheep XI: Stages 1-6, Completed

I thought I was done with the "sheep theme"portion of my painting studies of Northern England.

But I was wrong.


Just when I am convinced there is not a single new sheep painting left in me, I get re-inspired.

The memories of this ewe came clearly back to me. It was a beautiful day. We were traveling by car, on our way back from a nearby village. The sun's light was shimmering on the backs of the sheep as we passed them by. I couldn't resist this scene and my daughter, Emily, clearly understood. I moaned that I didn't bring my camera. But Emily had hers. "Here," she said, "Take my camera and you can walk the rest of the way home."
As I was randomly photographing the sheep in the pasture, this ewe caught my attention. She seemed curious and trotted up to me, baaaa-ing as she came. Her boldness was unexpected. I laughed nervously. Suddenly, I was glad there was a stone fence separating us; it gave us each boundaries.

Sheep Painting Study XI
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was there. The air was crisp and the sky was blue. As I turned to leave, this ewe became the leader as she and the rest of the sheep escorted me to the end of their pasture. They stood at their gate and watched me walk away. It was a beautiful walk home.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Painting Sheep X: Completed

Adding the thick paint and texture was so much fun that I forgot to take photos of the remaining stages. These sheep paintings continue to bring back fond memories of being there.
Sheep Painting Study X
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

It's hard for me to believe this is already the tenth in my series of painting studies of sheep. I have a few more images from my visit to North Yorkshire that I must record on canvas, though the inspiration for the subject matter will be the English countryside.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Painting Sheep X: Stages 1 - 3

It was an overcast day. The air was damp and cool.

The light was soft and the humidity acted as a filter for my camera.

All was quiet on this country road except for the clicking of my camera.

The green rolling hills stretched out as far as the eye could see.

Tomorrow I will add texture and detail.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Painting Sheep IX: Stages 4 - 5, Completed

Painting always makes me happy. But there is something about painting this little lamb that makes her extra special.

Little Lamb
Oil on canvas,  10x8"
Rita Salazar Dickerson
She was born in the same month as my little newborn granddaughter. They live not far from each other. And when I was thinking about a baby gift for her, to welcome her into this world, I thought that a painting of this little lamb would be ideal.