The musings of a landscape painter, art teacher, and art history lover
What struck me about this image was the fire and ice aspect of it. On the one hand, you have the rising sun blasting an orange cliff face and, on the other hand, you have the cool blue snow still clinging to the sides of the mountain. This crisp morning feels like a new day with all new possibilities, and complete forgiveness for any past sins. It feels like morning’s grace.
In Arizona, there are red rock cliffs all over the Northern portion of our state with Sedona and the Grand Canyon being the most popular. I still find painting those red rock a challenge, as the shadows seem to shift in color and value in surprising ways. Sometimes, they are cool blue grays that seem to be more mist than shade. At other times, the shadows have this warm purplish color that go in deep and create a striking carved out look. It is a lot of fun to work on them.
For this painting, I wanted to really focus in on the lit up orange cliff. To do this, I worked at simplifying the foreground, and I ended up doing very little work on the background. I just swept in some blue and yellow to give the feeling of sunlight on the snow. Most of my time was spent on the orange cliff face in the middle ground. I wanted to make sure it popped out and looked accurate to the photo reference I was using.
I hope you enjoy it!
Author: Bruce Black
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