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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Collegiate Peaks

After hiking to Snowmass Lake, Robert and I had made special plans, a reward of sorts, for successfully making it back down the mountain trail. Our destination: The Mountain Goat Lodge near Salida, Colorado. I'm not even sure I can describe to you how good it felt to arrive at this haven after three adventurous days up in the wilderness. And after a restful night of sleep in a comfortable bed, this is the view that greeted me when I woke up the next morning. The air was still and the sun was just rising as its light gently touched this portion of the Collegiate Peaks with soft pinks and purples. Add to this scene, an occasional rooster crowing, goats and chickens wandering, waiting for their morning meal. It was ideal.
Collegiate Peaks
18 x 24", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2014
Stage 1: Drawing in the composition with a brush and paint thinned with mineral spirits.
Stage 2: Blocking in the sky. I chose this warm pink for the underpainting of the sky.
Stage 3: Painting the second layer of the sky. With the pink underpainting still wet, I began brushing in the blues and purples of the clouds with the intention of leaving some the pink showing through.
Stage 4: With a large brush I applied lighter tones of white and then (with the same brush) pulled all the colors into each other.
Stage 5: Blocking in the shapes of the mountains.
Stage 6: Painting the second layer of the mountains. Once again I used a large brush and let some of the underpainting show through.
Stage 7: Painting the lower part of the mountains with grays and dark purple.
Stage 8: Blocking in the foreground. I blocked in two shades of purple...
...and added green and whites.

Stage 9: Completing the painting. Once I had the colors of the trees in place I pulled the colors into each other with a brush. This technique also softened the edges.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Painting Of A Stream: Snowmass Creek

Years ago, when we hiked Pikes Peak, my son, Adam, taught me the value of drinking water. Lots of water. He would randomly monitor my water bottles by checking them during rest stops as well as when we were on the move. He'd shake one and say, "Drink more. You're not drinking enough." It didn't take long for me to realize that hydration, along with calorie intake on a hike, determined how I felt until we reached our destination.

And so, when Robert and I backpacked in to Snowmass Lake last summer, I appreciated this pretty stream all the way up the mountain. Along with everything else at our campground, Snowmass Creek was beautiful. It was not only our important water source, it lulled me to sleep at night and was the first thing I heard when I woke up in the morning.

This is another painting completed for my Colorado Landscape series and will be for sale at G44Gallery in May!
Snowmass Creek
8 x 10", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2014
Stage 1: Sketching in the composition with a thin wash of oil paint mixed with mineral spirits.
Stage 2: Blocking in the shapes. This underpainting helped me determine the colors for the rest of the painting. 

Stage 3: Adding more detail.

Stage 4: Completing the painting. Once I had added all the detail necessary for the underpainting, I began using more paint and applying some of it with a small palette knife; this was especially helpful with the flowers and their leaves.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dog Portrait: Diesel

I would like you to meet Diesel, my most recent portrait commission. When I was asked to paint Diesel, I had no idea what he looked like but the minute I saw him, I knew he was going to be a fun painting project. Diesel gave me so much to work with. Long hair. Scruffiness. Personality. And eyes that see right through you.

Diesel 
10 x 8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2014

Stage 1: Sketching Diesel. With a thin mixture of Burnt Umber and mineral spirits, I used a #2 brush to capture Diesel's image. His head was slightly tilted so I had to make sure everything lined up correctly.

Stage 2: Blocking in the shapes. Working with three values, I applied a thin layer of paint for the underpainting, paying close attention to Diesel's features.

Stage 3: Painting the eyes.

Stage 4: Painting the nose.

Stage 5: Adding darker values.

Stage 6: Blocking in the background. I chose a warm orange as my underpainting for the background to compliment Diesel's hair color.

Stage 7: Completing the background.  To match the shine in Diesel's nose, using a coarse brush, I applied lots of thick, light blue paint which added drama to the background. I carefully allowed bits of the orange to show through as I placed wet paint onto wet paint.
Stage 8: Completing the painting. With a palette knife and brush I applied the the paint liberally to capture Diesel's magnificent hair which in turn added great texture and personality to an already charming face.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Colorado Landscapes Series: No Name

We have driven by No Name, Colorado, countless times and have never stopped before. With the changing autumn colors at their peak, this rest area, exit 119 on I-70, made an unforgettable first impression. When I looked up at its dramatic canyon walls, I felt like I was standing in one of the great cathedrals of Europe.
No Name
20 x 20", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2014
Stages 1 and 2: Sketching in the composition and then painting in the background trees. I used a thin wash made up of Burnt Umber and mineral spirits to brush in my sketch.
Stage 3: Blocking in the middle ground.

Stage 4: Painting the trees and foliage.
Stage 5: Painting the canyon walls. I wasn't sure if my plan of action for creating the rock walls was going to work; using a palette knife, I did a small area just to see. Its fun to push paint around and try different techniques. You never know until you try.
...I continued the canyon walls with an underpainting by blocking in the different shapes and colors that I saw.
Stage 6: Completing the painting. Using a brush and palette knife while the underpainting was still wet, I applied the second layer of paint focusing on color and texture.