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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fishing The Arkansas River

This painting is the first in my new Colorado Landscapes series. Even though adjustments will be made after some time has passed and I'm able to see it with fresh eyes, I am excited to do this post and share the stages with you.

If you have been following this blog for over a year, you might recall the color study I did of this scene when Robert and I were spending a warm fall day along the Arkansas River, near Salida, Colorado. While Robert fished, I painted. With the color study I also took photos of him fishing. This is the final result, a compilation of photographs and the painting I did that colorful fall day.
Fishing the Arkansas
16 x 20", oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2013
Stage 1: Loosely painting in the lines, freehand, of the shapes and figure. I used a wash of mineral spirits and Transparent Earth Red. Next, I started with the sky doing an under painting of Ultramarine blue mixed with Cobalt Blue and Titanium White.
Stage 2: Painting alla prima, wet on wet, I used a palette knife to add a lighter blue to the skyline of the mountains. I have a tendency to be frugal with paint so when I apply it with a palette knife I am forced to use more.
Stage 3: Completing the sky and painting the mountains. Using the same technique with the sky, I painted the mountains.
Stage 4: Painting the background of trees and bushes.
Stage 5: Blocking in the under painting of the river. In preparation for the water I brushed in this thin layer of color before I added the thicker, final coat, alla prima. I worked around the figure, Robert. 
Stage 6: The water and  figure. Robert was a lot more challenging than I thought he would be. With the sun practically over head, he blended in with the water. 
Stage 7: After blocking in the foreground with a thin layer of paint I came back in with my palette knife to add the thicker paint. After the paint was applied I used a combination of brush and palette knife to get the effect I wanted.
Here is the final painting with the color study I did last October. Painting from life recorded the colors much more accurately than the reference photos. I have never regretted painting plein air; I learn so much each time I do.

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