Tag: Art

Painting at Cochise Stronghold at the Horse Trail

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Another wonderful visit to Cochise Stronghold in southern Arizona. We found our site to set up easels just before the park land. There was a cozy spot in the shade, near a little horse trail and an abandoned stone ranch house.

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Starting the oil painting, I’ve blocked in some of the middle tones, and shadow fall on the boulders above.

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Closer view of the beautiful boulders that Chief Cochise of the Apaches had his last stand.

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Final view of the finished painting. It was a beautiful warm day, the intense heat of southern Arizona summer fading a little.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve, and the Nature Conservancy.

Located within the upper basin of the San Pedro River basin, Ramsey Canyon is a paradise for birding, nature watching, and plein air sketching and painting. It’s nice to compare the seasons as they unfold.

Fall colors along the San Pedro river, at Ramsey Canyon Preserve in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona.
Fall colors along the San Pedro river, at Ramsey Canyon Preserve in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona.

Last November as the leaves were in full color, we took advantage of a great opportunity to take the easel and paints out to the Ramsey Canyon nature preserve. The sketch was really about the brilliance of the color, and the forest environment.

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A couple of months later, we returned to the preserve, and set up easels next to the beautifully running creek.

January at the canyon.
January at the canyon.

The light is gorgeous, the water running at a steady clip. Being mid-day, the sun was going to steadily move down, but we figured we had 2 1/2 good hours to paint..

Beginning sketch.
Beginning sketch in ochres to set up values.

The goal was to catch the light on the running water, the movement and transparency of the water flowing over the rocks.

Finished 8 x 10" oil sketch.
Finished 8 x 10″ oil sketch.

Cochise Stronghold, Arizona

One of the most beautiful, tender and fragile locations of southern Arizona, Cochise Stronghold marks where the final Apache Chief Cochise defended his land.

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Visiting means paying homage to as well as honoring the sad history and memory of the Apache tribe. Recently with monsoon rains, it was necessary to pay a visit to the magical waters in the creek nestled within the canyon. The creek was running steadily.

Speckled light and delicate trickling of water. We also spotted bobcat prints and smelled au de bobcat scent.
Speckled light and delicate trickling of water. We also spotted bobcat prints and smelled au de bobcat scent.

The breeze was cool coming off the waters. Being a weekday, there were no other visitors to the campsite, making the quiet of the forest powerful. We stuck our feet in the cold water and made a little sketch.

Small pencil drawing in the creek.
Small pencil drawing in the creek.

Carmel-On-The-Sea

At the Plein Air Conference and Expo last month in Monterey, we had the fun of participating in a paint-out on the beautiful beach at Carmel-On-The-Sea. The weather was perfect, amid a group of blustery days; the sun shone and there wasn’t too much wind.

We walked down the beach a little way, towards a view of Pebble Beach off in the distance, and set up our gear.

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I was working on creating a quick tonal underpainting, while the fog was rolling around in the distance. I had recently purchase a set of primary colors from Michael Harding paints (at the PACE) and was excited to play around with the oils a little, and see how far I could mix with just the primaries.

turns out I could mix some lovely tints and tones of green, which went along well with the view.

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The shadows were growing long, and it was time to pack it in, go somewhere to get warm, and take a little walk in the quaint town of Carmel.

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Lover’s Point: Pacific Grove, CA

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Recently we took a trip to this quaint little Victorian town near Monterey. The day was overcast and blustery, the bay was choppy and a steely grey. A perfect time for a quick outdoor sketch in oil. There was a little town park at the tip of the town, called Lover’s Point, a place dating back to Victorians who loved to bathe in the waters, and take boating trips in the bay. The boulders were personable, yet a little dangerous.

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I’m working on birch panels that have been stained a transparent earthy red to seal the wood. I start the sketch quickly, using marks that block in the basic shapes of the boulders, sea and sky. I noticed that the shapes of the boulders were quite smooth, leaned together at odd places, and had interesting cracks and things that seemed to go through the whole grouping.

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The light was fairly constant, since the sky was overcast. The water was moving and crashing, transparent in some places, opaque in others.

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There was a misty and nostalgic atmosphere to the space and composition that I tried to keep in the painting. I was pleased with the way that the boulders opened up the space to the vastness of the sea. Beautiful northern California!