sunset over baldy
— 24 x 24 inches — oil on canvas
— copyright Dawn Chandler 2010

This painting is from that evening in early June — just a few weeks ago — when my friend and I caught the most glorious sunset on our way over to the Ranch after having dinner at the James. That far distant peak nearly center is Baldy Mountain……

I’m a bit surprised by how this painting turned out. I think my painting style — at least when it comes to my landscapes in oil — are usually a little more painterly than this (Or am I just imagining that?). By painterly I mean brush strokes that are kind of loose and textural. Yet this painting turned out astonishingly realistic — much more so than I was striving for or intended……..And yet. There it is.

What’s interesting about this is that this larger version (24” x 24”) ended up being much easier to paint than the small (6” x 6”) study for it. In fact, the study frustrated me so much, that I finally transformed it into an “abstraction” (which, as it turned out, I was immensely satisfied with. So was someone else, who ended up buying it a couple of days ago.)
Here’s the (sold) study, post abstraction:

philmont summer, viii — sunset over baldy (abstracted)
— 6 x 6 inches — oil on panel
— copyright Dawn Chandler 2010

What was frustrating me about the study is that the clouds were turning green. That’s because I was painting alla prima — wet paint into wet paint. (Remember that that’s one of the points of doing these little “daily” paintings: I try to complete the whole painting in a day). The orange had just enough yellow in it that, when painted over or into the blue, was turning green. Grrrr. My efforts were further frustrated by the fact that I was trying to paint in my usual landscape manner of dark to light, and that just wasn’t working for some reason. The edges of the clouds were too harsh, and when I’d try to soften them, I’d get green.

So, on the larger painting, I reversed my usual technique and painted from light to dark, and that worked. Brilliantly. I also let the yellow/orange layer set and dry a bit before moving in with the blues and purples and — Voila! — no green clouds.