Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Painting in Far West Texas

Here are a few paintings from a recent trip to far West Texas (Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, etc.). They're different from the subject matter I'm used to working on, but it was nice to stretch out and paint some sweeping vistas with a lot of distance. The trade-off, of course, was the risk of being attacked by a javelina, rattlesnake, wild turkey, bobcat, etc. I also lost some painting time to bad weather, when a cold front blew in and I didn't have a heavy enough jacket with me to go out and work for a day and a half. But I still had a lot of fun and got some good paintings.
Davis Mountains. Oil on panel, 16x20 inches. $480, unframed. Click here to purchase.



I pulled off to the side of the road to paint this first one. I liked the way the mountains stacked in front of one another in receding planes. There was a lot of dust in the air, and you could really see it in long distances.
Cliff Fronts in Davis Mountains. Oil on panel, 11x14 inches. $200, unframed. Click here to purchase.



There were so many subtle hue and tone changes in this rock face, it would have been impossible/pointless to capture them all on a small panel in a single session. So I shot for the overall effect. I put down a warm color, let that mostly dry; then I dragged cooler color over it, letting some of the warm color show through. It gives the illusion of detail without putting much detail in.

The next day we went to Presidio, TX, near the Mexican border. In fact, if you cross over the bridge spanning the Rio Grande in Presidio, you are in Ojinaga, Mexico. The landowner of this place said it was originally a slaughterhouse for cattle, a "long, long time ago." Some horses from the field behind took shade in the ruins while I was painting.
Slaughterhouse Ruins Near Presidio. Oil on panel, 11x14 inches. $200, unframed. Click here to purchase.


Later in the day, still in Presidio, I painted these buildings. Love an opportunity to put a deep red like this in a landscape. Presidio also had some purple prickly pear cacti, which I'd never seen before, but unfortunately I didn't have time to paint any.
Presidio Buildings. Oil on panel, 12x9 inches. $200, unframed. Click here to purchase.































The next morning I painted this huge tree at a rest stop. The trunk was probably 5 ft in diameter.
Ancient Tree. Oil on panel, 11x14 inches. $200, unframed. Click here to purchase.
























In the afternoon I went out near Mitre Peak, which is a 6000' tall mountain. I was down in a valley with large rock formations all around me. I could hear a gust of wind coming from a long way off and was able to brace for it, holding my easel and palette down. The wind was a little rough.
Near Mitre Peak. Oil on panel, 12x16 inches. $300, unframed. Click here to purchase.



I had a hunch I should bring a tube of Williamsburg Naples Yellow with me, and it really came in handy. It was perfect for mixing the yellowish color of grass in sunlight and it's all over these paintings.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below!