This morning I finished a painting that I started prior to last week’s three-day workshop (next post!). It’s from the Paradise Valley in Montana, just south of Livingston, where the Yellowstone River flows out of the park and forms a truly beautiful valley. We had a great time stopping and taking photos and just looking on our way down to the park.
I’m including the photo references as I used two, taken close together. I liked the dark mountain in #2 and the bend of the river and foreground in #1. You can also see how odd the trees are! I tried to minimize this a bit. When I got to the foreground, I decided I liked the bushes in the #1 shot, but took out the path with it’s dark line. I really liked just playing with the shadows and light.
I began with watercolor again, this time using yellow for the sky. I wanted the sense of the hazy light (probably smoke from fires!). I began with an aqua over the yellow, then added a real yellow, and my very whited orange and yellow–all Ludwigs. I used the brown for the mountain, thinking that warm under the cool violet would add some contrast and I was pleased with it. I did all of the mountains and sky with Ludwigs.
In putting in the distant fields, I got out various boxes of Blue Earth pastels and played with the grayed colors. I REALLY had a good time with this! I wanted the colors to be muted and I found that the grayed blues, greens, and oranges were really perfect. Used them for most of the foreground as well, with Ludwigs for the the water. Colorwise, I stuck to blues and didn’t go to true violets at all. But the there is blue violet in the mountain and in the river.
I loved doing this painting! One of my favorite painters is Russell Chatham, who is known for his paintings of the Paradise Valley–frequently with winter snow. My picture is a bit “prettier” and maybe “happier” than his–an no where near as good! But I had a good time doing it. AND–if you are ever in Livingston, MT, be sure to visit the hospital which doubles as the local art museum! Russell Chatham paintings everywhere, along with original art by other local artists. A really wonderful find!!!