Friday, September 2, 2016

A Tale of an Award Winning Painting - "Santa Fe River Turbulence"

The history of this painting began during a Mentoring Program by Albert Handell in June 2015.  I pointed out that the Santa Fe River was running, and so we painted there twice during the week.  The location is on Alameda on the southeast side of the river a block from Delgado Street. What a great location when the water is flowing. I enjoyed sitting and standing, painting and listening to the water babble as it flowed over the rocks, watching the neighborhood children and dogs frolicking in the waves.  My first two "en plein air" studies were during this program.:
"Santa Fe River Flows I", oil, 6x12" (sold)

"Santa Fe River Flows II", oil, 6x12" 
(available at the Marigold Arts Gallery: 

I then returned to the river on my own and painted the larger "Santa Fe River Turbulence".
As I was painting, I was conscious of utilizing a "golden spiral" with a focal point at the golden mean. Fortunately I had chosen a golden ratio for the panel: 10 x 16 (or as close as I could get to this irrational number).  I noticed that the rocks formed a kind of spiral, spiraling to that point and I took advantage of that.
Close-up photo of a section of the river:

After painting in the darks with ultramarine blue and Van Dyke Brown (cool and warm) to enforce the pattern and depth I began to place the colors I saw in the water - variations of the primaries, cool and warm with the use of special colors for neutralizing or accenting the painting.  The colors used were: Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Light, Ultramarine Blue and Cerulean Blue Hue and Titanium white of course from different manufacturers (primarily W&N, Utrecht, Gamblin .  I probably added some secondaries: Viridian Green and Sap Green, Cadmium orange and Cobalt Violet as well as Cobalt Blue. Neutral and accent colors included Gamblin Warm White, Holbein Rose Grey, Gamblin's Portland Grey Dark and Grumbacher's Thalo Yellow Green.

Of note is that I have become freer with the palette knife; if you inspect the small first paintings you can see the knife strokes.  In my efforts to paint solvent-free I find that this helps - fewer brushes to clean but also with resulting cleaner colors. Later in this story for other paintings, my palette changed somewhat for additional river paintings.
Early Stage:

Finishing up:

At this point I added a few sparkles in the river and the trees and some blue sky holes.  And ended up with this:
"Santa Fe River Turbulence", 10x16, oil.

Award presented at the opening show for the 2016 Plein Air Artists of Colorado Annual Show at the Mary Williams Gallery in Boulder, Colorado.

But the saga has more:
This painting went into my Purple Sage Gallery's solo show in December 2015.  And a new gallery owner saw it and invited me into his Marigold Arts Gallery on Canyon Road, the #2 gallery area in the country (after NYC).

But I was in Arizona for the winter! I had a few paintings in Santa Fe that my good friend offered to pick up and deliver to the gallery for me. Then I began to paint larger, since larger is what the owner wanted, and one was and is now in the Marigold Arts Gallery as part of my "Return to the River Series", a studio painting based on the award-winning "Turbulence" painting:

Note that I changed my palette in the meantime, using primarily Williamsburg oil paints (for the warm and the cool of each primary) along with the transparents and accents mentioned above. 

So, a few small paintings can lead to others, larger and presumably better. "Practice makes perfect" it is said. See additional river paintings at the Purple Sage Gallery ( and the Marigold Arts. 

Final note: Happenstance further inspired me in the river paintings.  During a large Hillary Clinton fund-raiser, hosted by my son, Josh Ginsburg, and other family members, Josh met and became friendly with Vikas Khanna, renowned author, spiritualist, representative of India and celebratory Indian Cuisine chef.  I needed to learn more about him since I do not watch cooking shows on TV so Vikas graciously sent me two books as the mother of his new good friend; one was "Return to the Rivers" about his pilgrimage in India.  This inspiring book resonated with me and, with his permission, I titled my show at the Marigold: "Return to the Rivers". Vikas continues to inspire his countrymen and our leaders with his voluntary work for mothers and children in shelters and has millions of followers on Facebook.

Karen L. Halbert

For a tale of another painting go to the post, Tale of Two Paintings, in March 2016 of this blog.


Information about Holbein's Rose Grey, from the Dick Blick Art Supply site.

 Since I often use the Transparent Oxide Red as a toner, I find that rose grey is harmonious when I wish to tone down the painting in bright areas or to brighten up the painting in duller areas.

00425-3174 — Rose Gray

This color contains the following pigments:

PR101—Red Iron Oxide
Pigment Type
earth, synthetic
Chemical Name
iron oxides (synthetic), iron oxide, silica, alumina, lime, and magnesia or hydrated iron oxide
Chemical Formula
Fe2O2 or Fe2O3 • H2O
Red iron oxide varies in hue and transparency, depending on hydration and slight impurities. Indian Red is a slightly duller, deep brick hue with a bluish undertone. It is very dense and opaque, with excellent tinting strength and covering power. It is dependable when mixing with all other permanent pigments and yields good flesh tints when mixed with Zinc White. It is the synthetic version of PR102, which is a pigment made from earth reds, or natural red iron oxides, and the names applied to PR101 and PR102 often overlap. The synthetic red iron oxides have mostly replaced natural red iron oxides and are brighter, stronger, finer, and more permanent. Indian Red is the highest grade bluish shade. Light Red, English Red, and Venetian Red are yellowish shades. Mars Violet is a dull and subdued bluish or purplish oxide.
Red iron oxide is very lightfast with excellent permanence.
Red iron oxide has no significant hazards.
Natural red iron oxide comes from the mineral ore hematite, called bloodstone by the ancient Greeks from the word hema, meaning blood. It is one of the oldest pigments, has been used by every major civilization, and was an important mineral for medieval alchemists. It was not widely used in artists' materials until the 17th century and was not produced in large quantities until the 18th century.
Alternate Names
Indian Red, Colcothar, English Red, Light Red, Mars Red, Mars Violet, Morelle Salt, Pompeian Red, Indian Red, Red Oxide, Sinopia, Spanish Red, Terra Rosa, Tuscan Red, Venetian Red, Venice Red.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PAPNM Website Conversion New Features

I have made some adjustments to papnm6's HOME page and copies of it, Black Border Home Page and FEATURES HOME page:

  • Moved the Events and Announcement boxes down, after our images for the winners of the SFPAF and the Online Online Contests.
  • On the Page Template, Black Border Legacy Template, changed the background of the main placeholder to black and changed the default padding to 5 on the top, left and right. Kept the 40 pixels provided by the theme. I think this gives a better look than the previous white. This also places a nice border around the white context sections on each of the pages. Also made the logo text a brick red.
  • Created page template and home page called FEATURES template and HOME.  To be used to add features. This was a copy of the Black Border Template so that the black border remains.

  • Added a three column layout with the Facebook feed,the Featured Member box and the SFPAF Images Slide Show (moved from above) for your review.
  • Moved the brick red log text to the right by adding spaces in front of it.  It rescales nicely.

Note that this blog had a conversion while I wasn't looking and i don't have time to study how to change it.  There used to be a list of past posts on the right listed by date. Everything is now on one page. For now, we will just use the top posts.

Some images:

Janice had mentioned that it would be better not to have the text on the cloud. When I tried to move it it ended up not being 'responsive'  I think it the placement is too close to the top then when resizing, the text double up on itself.
So at they split 5 pm on Tuesday I am only using two page templates, one for experimentation (with the red text as of this point)

PAPNM Website Conversion Images

This is to document the steps we are taking and need to take in order to convert to a new up-to-date, mobile-friendly website using the same website provider, Wild Apricot.

The new website is being reviewed and tested by the website conversion committee: Barbara Bush, Janice St. Marie (papnm's Graphic Designer), Rajen Chachani (PAPNM Website Co-administrator) and myself, Karen Halbert (PAPNM Website Co-administrator).

I will add to this but for now I want to begin by including the images of the future website as we now are envisioning it (June 21, 2016).
Click on any image to enlarge for better viewing. To return to the blog use the browser's back arrow after enlarging.

Home Screen (with black font for the PAINTING THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT. See white font example below)

Home screen with Members Only Drop Down Menu

Scrolling down for the next two images.

The Join Us Page (pages will generally have black on white text):

Paintout Calendar page:

Home page with White Font for PAINTING THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT

Friday, June 3, 2016

Karen Halbert: Expanded Biography

Karen at the Marigold Arts Exhibition: Return to the Rivers
Karen Halbert is a full time landscape painter, primarily of the Southwest. She was torn away from careers in mathematics and computers to follow her life-long passion: painting. Though she paints in the Southwest, she also captures the images that permeate her dreams – of the powerful ocean waves of the Pacific, home of her childhood.
Driven by the purity of elements of mathematics, found in areas such as dynamic symmetry and chaos theory, she strives to go far beyond her analytical training. The logic of composition and pattern is second nature to Halbert; she is free to experiment with other aspects that help her capture the underlying beauty of the natural world. Her training in the Classical techniques as well as Impressionism serve her well. She can concentrate on capturing the beauty of the landscape surrounding her.
Driven by the light of the southwest, Halbert made a conscious life-style decision to move to Santa Fe. She also wanted to return to her roots in the west. It is here that she has found a true artist’s home. Halbert displays her work throughout the country from Woodstock to the Old Town in Albuquerque as well as in various She is represented by the Marigold Arts Gallery on Canyon Road, Santa Fe and the Purple Sage Gallery in Albuquerque.  You may also view her works on her website,
Halbert is very active in the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico (PAPNM), serving as the volunteer Website Administrator. She is currently working on a major conversion of the website to a state-of-the-art system using her design and computer skills; the work is recalling the many years she spent managing the development of user systems on Wall Street with the NYSE.

Karen: “My paintings go beyond my analytical training and reflect the depth of nature’s magnificent diversity. The logic of composition, edges, values and pattern is second nature to me. I can concentrate and subject's quality, reaching for deeper meaning and the underlying essence of life. Painting on location, ‘en plein air’, enables this subliminal reaction, resulting in paintings that I wish to share.”

Plein Air Artists of Colorado Featured Artist Article of October 2015:
PAAC Article – Karen Halbert
Short Bio: 

Karen strives to transform the beauty of mathematics into her art,
utilizing her knowledge of areas such as dynamic symmetry, fractals
and chaos theory. The “hidden harmony” of Karen's work is shown in
her cloud fractals, wave patterns and stream flows as well as cliff
striations and tessellations. Karen grew up in the West, but moved
East as an adult to attend college and pursue a career as a college
professor of mathematics and computer science, and later as a Wall
Street executive. She eventually settled in Woodstock, New York to
fulfill her life-long dream of being an artist, but ultimately was drawn
back West to the artist-rich town of Santa Fe. Karen continues to use
her computer skills as a volunteer Website Administrator for the Plein
Air Painters of New Mexico.

When did you first become interested in art?
As a child, I loved to draw and paint and I won the high school award
for art (I still have the pin in my jewelry chest). I chose another
passion, mathematics, as a more practical career.

Where do you sell your work? ( galleries, festivals,
I am represented* by the Purple Sage Gallery in Albuquerque and am
planning a featured artist show in December 2015, titled, "Hidden
Harmony". Two of my paintings will be at the New Mexico Art League
in October in the "Biologique" exhibition. This exhibition features art
inspired by nature with concepts such as the "Golden Mean", Fibonacci
sequence, π (Pi), fractals, and mathematical harmony underlying the
works. My works sell through the gallery and exhibitions sponsored by
PAPNM and PAAC as well as through my website,

What is your biggest challenge when painting en plein air?
My biggest challenge is simplifying the scene before me. Allowing my
mind to play with mathematical concepts helps me in the process.

Briefly describe your most interesting or funny plein air

This is really an experience that is an aftermath of plein air
experiences: Six years ago while walking my dog in Santa Fe, I
encountered a woman who took one look at me and immediately
exclaimed, "So, you are a painter!" “What do you mean?,” I
responded. She pointed at the paint on my clothes (I do find that
paint gets all over me especially when I paint outside) and my plein air
hat. As a (plein air) painter herself from Cape Cod, she was
completely aware of the significance! That woman is now my best
friend. Art and painting still remain our favorite topics of conversation
on our daily walks with our dogs, Chili and Caleb, both red standard

Please tell me about an interesting non-– art aspect of
yourself that people might be surprised to know.
Some people might not know that I was a computer programmer, and
then the manager/executive on software projects that are still being
used to drive trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Another, perhaps more interesting fact, is that I lived in Honolulu in
high school and return frequently. I have painted in Molokai at the
Leper Colony and Honolulu and plan to travel to the North Shore of
Oahu to paint at the end of this year for a few weeks. I will look for
the hidden harmony in the waves, the cliffs and the clouds.

What is your long-term goal as an artist?
To improve my skills and to impart any knowledge that I have been
acquiring in small classes. Also, to enter more competitions that will
hone my skills.

Any tips on tools, techniques or gear for the budding plein
air artist
Simplify the landscape: look for the big shapes and worry about the
details only at the end, if at all. Keep your equipment light and have it
ready at all times for that moment of inspiration.

What advice do you give an artist just starting out?
Use solvent-free materials; the health hazards of solvents are wellknown.
I recently acquired this as my motto, and I am teaching a class
in solvent-free oil painting in Arizona this winter. Also, work with a
limited palette, a cool and warm of each primary for a more

harmonious painting.

Karen at the Santa Fe River

"Santa Fe River Flows I", 6x12, oil by Karen Halbert

*Addendum. Karen is now also reprented by the Marigold Arts Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, NM.

Selected Exhibitions – Karen Halbert

September 2016. Mary Williams Fine Arts Gallery, Juried Exhibition, Plein Air Painters of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. 

May 2016. Marigold Arts Gallery, Return to the Rivers, Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM.

December 2015 – January 2016. Purple Sage Gallery, Solo Show, Hidden Harmony, Oldtown, Albuquerque, NM.

October 2015. Art Collectors’ Gallery, Juried Exhibition, Plein Air Painters of New Mexico (PAPNM) Annual Members Show, Santa Fe, NM

September 2015. Biologique Juried Exhibition, Albuquerque. An exhibition portraying the connections between art and mathematics.

August 2015. Mary Williams Fine Arts Gallery, Juried Exhibition, Plein Air Painters of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. 

June 2015. Inart Gallery Juried Exhibition, PAPNM Santa Fe Plein Air Festival

May 2014. Featured Artist, Purple Sage Galeria, Trekking through the Land of Enchantment, Old Town, Albuquerque.

June 13 – July 6, 2014. InArt Gallery Juried Exhibition, PAPNM Annual Plein Air Santa Fe (PASF) Paintout, Santa Fe, NM.

May 2-17, 2014. Gary Kim Gallery Juried Exhibition, PAPNM Annual Members Show, Santa Fe, NM.

October 2013 Millicent Rogers Museum Juried Exhibition, PAPNM Annual Members Show, Taos, NM

June 2013. Gary Kim Gallery, Juried Exhibition, PAPNM Annual Plein Air Santa Fe Paintout, Santa Fe.

May 2012 – current. Purple Sage Galeria, Oldtown, Albuquerque, NM

June 2012. Juried Exhibition, PAPNM Annual Paintout, Ruidoso, NM.

November 2011. Placitas Artists Series 4-Person Juried Exhibition, Placitas, NM

October 2011. Millicent Rogers Museum PAPNM Juried Exhibition, Land and Light, Taos, NM

October 2010. Millicent Rogers Museum PAPNM Juried Exhibition, Spirit of Place, Taos, NM

October 2009. Open Space Juried Exhibition, Little Gems, Albuquerque.

August 2009. Wilder Nightingale Gallery Juried Exhibition, PAPNM Annual Members Show, Taos, NM.

June 2004-2006, Betsy Jacaruso Gallery Exhibition: Luminous Visions in Landscape and Still Life, Red Hook, NY

October 2005. Woodstock Art Association Juried Exhibition, The Beat Goes On, Woodstock, NY.

April 2005. Woodstock Art Association Juried Exhibition, Still Life, Woodstock, NY


Curriculum vitae:
2016 – current. Marigold Arts Gallery, Canyon Road, Santa Fe.
2010-current. Purple Sage Gallery, Oldtown, Albuquerque.
2005-current. Moved to Santa Fe from Woodstock to study with oil painting masters, Roger Williams, Doug Higgins and Albert Handell (and others). Volunteer Website Administrator for the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico. Continued to participate in juried exhibitions.  Frequently take painting trips with friends to places such as the Grand Canyon, Hawaii and the Tetons. But I concentrate on painting trips to Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu and to Taos as well as  day trips around the environs of Santa Fe.
2003-2005. Studied with master oil painter, Keith Gunderson. Woodstock, NY.
2003. Retired and Moved full-time to Woodstock, NY.
2002-2005. Studied with watercolorist, Betsy Jacaruso, Woodstock, NY.
December 2001. Began serious training to become an artist.
2001 – 2003. SIAC/NYSE Vice President in charge of Trading Engines, managing over 100 people.
1997-2001. SIAC/NYSE. Managing Director of the Display Book, the premier application used by the Specialists on the floor of the NYSE.
1996-1997. SIAC/NYSE Computer Scientist/Manager of a New Display Book, managing dozens of consultants to update the systems on the NYSE.
1993-1995. SIAC/NYSE. Manager of the Specialists’ Display Book.
1986-1992. SIAC/NYSE. Computer Programming Consultant.
1983-1986. Philon, Compiler Design Computer Software Startup Company. Programmer and Manager.
1973-1982. College of Mount Saint Vincent, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Riverdale, New York. Taught Beginner classes with references to Artistic terms such as Groups and their Graphs and th Fibonnacci Series. Taught advanced classes in Abstract Algebra with references to Geometric transformations between structures (groups) and to patterns such as tessellations of the plane. Courses taught included Calculus, Complex Analysis and Abstract Algebra as well as introductory courses in Mathematics and Computers to non-math majors.
1969-1973. Graduate Program in Mathematics, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU. PhD in Combinatorial Group Theory. Dissertation. Symplectic Groups (Geometric Transformations of Hyper-space.) Taught in a teachers’ training program and taught undergraduate courses at NYU while a graduate student.
1967-1969. US Peace Corps. Chimbote, Peru. La Escuela Normal Marianista de Chimbote. Taught ’New Math’ to Elementary School teachers in Spanish.
1964-1966. Computer Programmer. Columbia University, Underwater Acoustics Research Laboratory in Dobbs Ferry, NY.
1960-1964. Undergraduate program at NYU majoring in Mathematics. Full NYU scholarship and NY State Regents Scholarship.
1956-1960. High School. Roosevelt High School, Honolulu, Hawaii. National Merit Finalist. Art Award.
1950-1955. Seattle, Washington. Attended Elementary School in Ballard and Catherine Blaine Junior High School in Magnolia.
1942-1950. Vancouver,Washington. Oldest of six children.

Defining moments:
May 2016. Return to the Rivers, exhibition at the Marigold Arts Gallery.  My son Joshua met a world renowned author and chef, Vikas , at a major political event.  One of his books is titled “Return to the River”. While reading the book into the middle of the night I realized that I have always been drawn to rivers (and oceans).  I was very moved by Khanna’s activities, supporting women and children throughout the world. He has raised himself up from poverty to become beloved by the Dalai Lama, Obama, Hillary Clinton and now my son and by millions watching him on his cooking programs. Khanna also donates dinners to womens’ shelters. Meeting him has opened up a new world for Joshua. I hope to record part of this world in my art. Hence the title of my new exhibit at the Marigold Arts Gallery.
February 2016. While teaching an oil painting class, I found that digging deeper into the techniques of painting and the theory helped me beter undersand what makes a great painting. I have tried to utilize my findings in my new works.
October 2005. Moved to Santa Fe to return to my western roots and to paint the wondrous New Mexico light and landscape.
October 2003. Retired early so that I could dedicate myself to a new career painting full-time. Moved from Manhattan to our summer home in Woodstock, NY to be surrounded by the beauty of the landscape in another artist-rich community.  I was especially inspired by scenes of the Hudson River and the painters of the Hudson River School legacy.
October 2001. Attended an executive program in San Diego, flying there in spite of security concerns. A question asked was: what did I do besides work.  This made me consider my life. It was then that I reminded myself how much art meant ot me when I was younger and how much I ued it for examples in my Mathematics’ classes.  I also realized that an important part of my career involved the presentation of data. I began to teach myself watercolor (with the help of a paint-by-numbers watercolor set from my son for Christmas.)
September 11, 2001. At the NYSE I managed the turnover of the software systems to support the opening of the NYSE on Monday, September 17. Then we implemented the system to be highly compliant with Security measures. This was a life-changing period.
1982. Changed from the academic world to the corporate world, transitioning through a start-up company.
1960-64. Chose careers in Mathematics over Art as more practical, though both fields are passions. I took many art courses (and religion and philosophy) as well as the requisite mathematics and physics courses.
1973. Only child, Joshua, born. He attended excellent schools (Fieldston in Riverdale, NY and Carnegie Mellon), studied to be an architect and is an executive for a large Manhattan architectural firm designing and promoting web-based systems; he’s become a computer ‘nerd’ like his mom while his mom became an art ‘nerd’. Josh designed my website,, so that I can update it as needed (often). We are working jointly on a project to upgrade the website to a state-of-the art implementation. I enjoy visiting him and his young family, now in San Diego, frequently, tying the visits into California coast painting trips.
1966. Joined the Peace Corps, leaving a corporate job in computers. Teaching there transformed what I wanted to do. I decided to continue in graduate studies afterwards so that I could teach Mathematics at the undergraduate level.
1955. Moved to Honolulu from Seatlle. I became totally immersed in the Hawaiian culture, while working within an academic challenging environment; the high school I attended was the last ‘english standard’ class in Honolulu. To get into the school required a test. Even today I enjoy returning to one of my second ‘home’ to paint and absorb the beautiful landscape. My high school friends opened my eyes to a world in which prejudice exists; I vowed to spend my life working to correct this and to trying to find beauty around us and peace.

Early childhood. The excellent junior high school I attended in Seattle opened up the world for me, showing me that I could escape a life of poverty and pursue any dreams I might have. Even today I enjoy returning to my childhood home to visit my close relatives and to view the beautiful scenery and to contemplate painting it (as I did with watercolors ten years ago).

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chimney Rocks II Painting Stages

Now that I am no longer teaching a class I have neglected to post my paintings and lessons learned.  But I do want to begin again.  Two days ago a painting was sold at the Marigold Arts Gallery on Canyon Road of a scene that happens to be in my favorite area to paint: Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu and the Chama River.  So I am inspired to paint there again (before my next planned trip in early June).
In particular I decided to look back over my notes to see the stages for the Chimney Rocks (now I) painting I did last February 27 and do the painting in a different size. Here's the painting that sold:
"Chimney Rocks almost final", 11x14, oil by Karen Halbert

"Chimney Rocks", 11x14, oil by Karen Halbert (SOLD)
Notice that I changed the sky quite a bit and adjusted the green of the bushes.  Actually for the sold version I toned down the signature from the dark blue to a softer green so that it wasn't as prominent.

So, today I began a new version on a 10x16 linen panel (golden ratio proportion). I happen to have a couple of nice floater frames for this size so once the painting is complete I can submit it to the gallery.
Chimney Rocks Reference Photo

Chimney Rocks Palette (primarily Williamsburg oils)

Several stages beginning with a transparent wash.
Chimney Rocks II: Transparent Wash Stage 1 (for the most part)
You can actually see the use of a couple of mixes with white for the grays here.
And more in the next step, still sometimes using a brush:
Chimney Rocks II: Stage 2
I began to adjust the areas and the sky, and now only used a palette knife (even for the sky).
Chimney Rocks II: Stage 3.With a layer of blues over the sky area.

Chimney Rocks II: Stage 4. Continued adjustments.

Then I stopped for the day, hoping to look at the painting with a fresh eye tomorrow.  My intentions with this version included using a brighter sky to add more drama and accentuate the light on the cliffs.  This creates a very different feel from Chimney Rocks I.

In Stage 5, the next day I seemed to lose the colors of the cliffs. I fell in love with one of my mixes and overdid it.  And the sky lost some of its drama. I had also decided to remove some of the bushes and I think this helped.
Chimney Rocks II: Stage 5.

Continuing the next day,  I darkened and brightened the sky (again) and added some brighter colors into the cliffs  still using only a palette knife. In the meantime I had done a photoshopped version and tried to turn the ground into water.  This wasn't bad but I decided instead to leave it with a meadow-like foreground. But now the ground almost looks wet.  I tried to convey the feeling of 'after the rain' or 'during the rain' and decided this helps:

Chimney Rocks II. Final version (for now)

I am going to let this painting sit for a couple of days. The cliff details could use some refinement.  I feel that from a distance this color scheme works. I wanted to give the impression of a looming storm with light breaking through onto the main cliffs. For this reason I think that the bluer, more sketchy ground plane works here to help create this mood.  I wanted the contrast of the brighter blue with its orange complement to give the cliffs and painting some punch. The analogous greens in the ground work with the blues and purples of the cliffs I feel.