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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Steamboat Aspens

This is another new painting in my Colorado Landscape Series that you can see at G44 gallery. When the owner, Gundega, asked me last summer if I was interested in showing a fresh body of work this spring, May 9th seemed so far away.  But when time is counted by brushstrokes, it didn't take long at all. Please come to the opening if you can, Friday, May 9, 6-8 p.m. Gundega hosts a beautiful reception.The show is up until June 7. All work is for sale.

I had fun with this last piece. It is from the plein air study that I did when visiting Steamboat Springs.  Colorado aspen trees are more commonly painted in the fall with their golden leaves. I chose instead to focus on the dance movement of the tree trunks. Curving, bending, seemingly swaying to the music of the day.
Steamboat Aspens
8x10", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson (c) 2014

Stage 1: Drawing in the trees with a thin wash of paint thinned with mineral spirits. And then the background painting begins. (Honestly, I almost forgot to photograph this first stage! Try and imagine it without the blue.)
Stage 2:  Painting the sky. I added in hints of green to add color and interest.

Stage 3:  Working colors and values into the background. Its always important to remember to have at least a light, medium and dark value in your painting.

Stage 4:  Blocking in the trees. Aspen trees have such interesting shapes. Rarely do you see one that looks perfectly straight. 

Stage 5: Completing the trees. There are not many rules to painting aspens. Their shapes, markings, colors and values are consistently inconsistent. So much depends on lighting, location and season. This was so much fun, I'm going to have to paint more of these.

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