Sedona Sunrise Oil Painting

| April 18, 2010
"Sedona Sunrise" - 11x14, Oil on Linen on Board

“Sedona Sunrise” – 11×14, Oil on Linen on Board

With an amazingly busy week of work coming up I thought I would get my submission done this weekend for the April Challenge. As I was laying this out, I thought I was taking on too much. Trees and bushes give me fits and about half the painting is of such things! What’s more, rocks are not my strength either. I guess this had all the makings of a real challenge!

After sketching and fixing the initial layout in pencil, I toned the canvas with a mix of Yellow Ochre and Cadmium Yellow. I then started with the sky, making sure to capture the light coming from the right side. My palette consisted of Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, Yellow Ochre, Transparent Oxide Red and White. Although Viridian can get me in trouble, I often need it to pop colors that are outside the mixable spectrum of my primary colors. For me, Transparent Oxide Red and Ultramarine, sometimes with a touch of Cadmium Red, mix great darks.

After the sky, I worked the distant rocks, paying particular attention to the values to create the illusion of distance. If the colors are too saturated, they will come forward and compete with the sunlit rocks, which are the focal point of the painting. I also made sure there was a transition to warmer and more muted values along the distant rocks as I moved toward the sun. My HDR photo picked this up and it was essential to communicating that the sun was gearing up from the left to start our day. Jay Moore said in his workshop to really look for transitions of all kinds. They make our paintings more interesting.

Then came the sunlit rocks. I tried to keep the shadows full of color while leaving enough room for the sun highlight to pop relative to everything else. They actually were easier than anything else to paint. I did have to pay attention the the size of the rock features to make sure the sense of scale was maintained. If the features get too big, the rocks shrink and start looking like toys.

Then the trees and foreground, which to a while to work out. The tree on the left went pretty well thanks to some excellent Jay Moore references hanging on my wall. In general, I had to keep the foreground relatively dark so it did not take away from the sun hitting the elements near the focal point. The primary goal was to create interest with color and form within a tight value range. I like the violet tones in the foreground shadow and feel they play nicely against the warmer yellow tones in light. For the tree on the right, I tried to create the illusion that the sun was piercing it and wrapping itself round the branches. That also helps clearly itentify where the sun is coming from.

All on all a fun painting that has given me the strength to head into the next one!

Have a good week,

Tags: ,

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    A most fabulous result, Lee. It is a breathtaking vista and painting.

  2. Nice job Lee – you captured the light really well here! It’s fun to see how multiple people paint the same photo – it’s always so different.

    Where did you get the frame in this photo? It’s great – really compliments the painting.

  3. Lee says:

    Thanks for visiting Stacey and for the nice comment. I must admit that I miss your Blank Canvas posts but completely understand with your more challenging schedule. I was glad to get your newsletter today and wish you great success with you upcoming shows!

    Regarding the frame, I will confess that it is a composite from a photo I took of one of Jay’s paintings. I have three Moore’s and they all have the same frame. I think he designed them for his paintings and I believe that they are made by Colorado Framesmith in Peyton. I would like to get some nice frames made but need to focus on nice paintings first!

  4. Lee says:

    Thanks Sherry. I hope all is well and you are getting that apron dirty!

  5. Dean says:

    Beautiful job, Lee! I like how you have the foliage enclosing the foreground to accentuate the rocky focal point.

  6. Lee says:

    Thanks Dean! I feel like I still want to pick at it but time to move on to the next one!