"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.
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 (www.purplesagegallery.biz) 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.