Painting in Los Alamos 2022
June 5, 2023: Updated with new title, Painting in Los Alamos-2022.
I am participating in a Paint Out in Los Alamos, Sept 20-22, 2022 with a group from the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico. A show of the paintings from the paint out will be held at the Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos from Sat, Sep 24 - Oct. 8, 2022. See https://www.papnm.org/2022-Los-Alamos-Nonjuried-Paintout-and-Show
I wanted to prepare for the event by scouting out the locations, taking photographs and perhaps doing painting studies, using composition tools described elsewhere on this blog. I have included here my attempt at a painting and then my preparatory studies of a similar scene.
Note that I took part in the same paint out 4 years ago, so in fact I know the spots I want to paint. I will try to keep an open mind though in case another site seems promising. I painted at the White Rock Overlook then and intend to paint there again.
One scene I would love to paint are the cliffs seen from the Anderson Overlook, the dramatic scene that all travelers see on their way into the Los Alamos area. It's beautiful, but difficult to paint. Here is my first (studio) attempt with a photo of the scene:
- the yellow section of the sky seems out of place (I should just make the whole sky blue with perhaps letting it 'fade' to light cerulean as it nears the horizon.
- the shadow part of the hills are too dull (not sure what I would do here).
- the orange of the cliffs should be more muted, slightly pinker
I ran out the next dawn with my setup to paint the scene toward the west 'en plein air' but got distracted by the beautiful dawn in the other direction:
I basically intended to use Dynamic Symmetry grids to design my paintings at the Paint Out. And I wanted to use my Golden Rectangle panels (10x16 - or 5x8). They are not perfect golden rectangles; a 10x16.18 would be better to within a hundredth.
And I analyzed the cliffs from photos in advance. However, I found it difficult to paint from the side of the road facing the cliffs. The traffic was noisy and disconcerting, So I decided to do a studio painting at the motel and then start again the next morning at the site, trying to ignore the noise and traffic. It turns out that I was met by a glorious sunrise that took my mind away from this particular view the next morning and ended up not doing a plein air version (yet).
As indicated at the beginning of this post, I began with one vista and then with the help of a study and the grids decided on another vista. So I did a thumbnail and then a grid and a sketch on my 10x16. Note the light sketch of a spiral in the thumbnail 'ending' in the upper left:, a potential focal point area: