Rabbit Brush - Oil, 8" x 8"
Midway through the trip I made a little painting that I felt most closely approaches the kind of finish I like to get in the studio with my oil work. We stopped around noon to pick a new site and meet up with one of John Berry's painting friends Glen Dean (also a very talented guy- check out his work here). I was immediately attracted to the yellow color of the flowering sage plants affectionately known as "rabbit brush" I liked the compact shape and the intense chroma of the flowers.
I blocked in the shapes using a reddish mixture and got to working on the background. I typically work to establish the areas in the distance first and progress forward in the picture plane. this seems to allow me to capture the atmosphere more accurately and judge values better. As I neared the stopping point, I realized that my value contrasts were not what I had hoped and I was forced to analyze things to come up with a solution.
Nearly done- just lacking highlights and finishing touches
I fell back on the old principle that there are two ways to create of value contrast. First is to increase contrast by changing the value of the object or second to change the value of what surrounds that object. I made the call to lighten up the background surrounding the brush rather than push it darker. I had to judiciously edit out growth around my subject in order to achieve the effect I wanted. So after a bit of adjustment, and critical assessment, I was pretty happy with the piece. I think the surface quality of the paint and strokes worked out quite well.