Cascade mountain series

This one took a couple times before I got it somewhat how I imagined it. The first picture below is the final version.

The initial inspiration came at Smith Rock State Park actually. The sun was setting and these huge clouds were looming over the Cascade crest to the west, almost obscuring the Three Sisters. It was possible to see the dark edges of exposed rock through the clouds though, looming, kind of sinister looking.

As the sun set, the last rays caught on some of the buildings in the foreground, glowing yellow orange.





The version below was the right idea, but too much foreground.



This version below was probably closest to what the scene actually looked like.  I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with that flat line houses and trees/bushes.



Below is the a photo I took for reference:


At the end of the day

I walk by this spot often, at the park near my house. It looks like this for about an hour a so a day, as long as the sun is out. For most of the day, through late afternoon, the sun is not low enough to cast these dramatic shadows: mostly, the entire ground is just a mass of shadows. It sounds pretty simplistic when I write it, but it is a surprisingly dynamic place. Last week I came to this spot to try to paint and there wasn’t anything — no dramatic shadows, no sunlight shining between the trunks. Because I came too early.

It seems like even in late afternoon there should be at least a little bit of a trunk shadow, a bit of line and definition to the shadow, but I think because these trees here are so close together, and they have so much interlocking foliage, that there is basically a blob of a shadow until the very end of the day, when the sun is almost setting.

It took two tries to get anything reasonable — and by the time I was on the second painting, I was mostly working from memory, as a cloud bank had obscured the sun more or less. This was at the end of a rather long day at work/school but it felt good to get out lay down some brush strokes. I think I captured a little bit of my mood, not exactly impatient, but decisive. Not waiting around to get it perfect. Which in many ways is just the kind of attitude I need for painting.