Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grand River Passage

Grand River Passage 2' x 3'
I thought on this particular painting rather than doing a step by step analysis of the process I would focus on some of the details in this painting. I began work on this large painting after completing a 19 x 13 inch study.

Water Passage
One of the biggest differences between a study and a full size subsequent painting is the amount of canvas that has to be covered. You cannot be as picky about details in some degree just because of scale. And yet because of the size some aspects of the painting have to be different. I find I can seldom do the same painting only larger. In Grand River Passage there is more sky than in Water Passage. And I found it necessary to carry some of the colors of the cliff into the water.

Water detail on Grand River Passage
On Water Passage this area of the painting is merely shades of green, gray and blue but on the larger painting, partly through a happy accident, I have brought in the purple and yellow and pinks of the canyon walls. And I opted out of using any of the metallic colors I used in the smaller work.

Upper Canyon Detail
I, of course, used my signature ravens in both paintings but chose to make them more numerous in the larger painting. Also I cast some gray shadows on the far walls. The upper canyon is also glazed with a white wash to give it a sense of distance and detail in the upper canyon is minimal.

Middle Canyon
This detail shows the line and granulation used in the middle canyon to focus the attention of the viewer. The delicate lines added with a pen and ink to me give the rocks more reality and substance. And it has always rather amazed me just how few lines this takes. Most of the "texture of the rocks" has been achieved with floating color with a granulation medium that causes a separation of the colors that appears as grain or texture. I then take a nib and India ink of various colors and define color "blocks." I did less of this in the smaller painting because to do too much would make it too busy.

The result of the subtle differences in the two works is that they are two different paintings even if inspired by the same photograph. I often think that the process of painting from sketch to study to full size work is a grand passage in and of itself.


  1. Lovely as always, Jacqui. Thanks for explaining your unique techniques to us (especially non-fine artists). What a privilege to be let into the mind of one, such as you, in the midst of the creative process.

  2. I love the painting, Jacqui. The strong "X" compositional form is particularly attractive and draws one into the picture.

  3. What I love about it is not only your description of why you do what but, also the very vibrant colours you use. That is what attracts me to your paintings in the first place and the way your paintings flow.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.