Friday, February 27, 2015


28 x 24 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas

I did another version of this river in a horizontal format last spring to be included in the Meraki solo exhibit in Trinidad, Colorado. Artists are known to repaint certain themes as Monet did with water lilies and Chartes Cathedral. And Van Gogh with Sunflowers. The theory is artists keep at it until they get it right. But Pablo Picasso not only repeated themes but was known to reuse sketches of some elements from one painting to the next. I save all my sketches and tracings. Sometimes I did a painting with a daytime sky and think I would like it better with a night one. And with Rio Grande Rio, the horizontal composition, I thought I would like it better vertical.

The sky and river poured

It was not quite as easy as merely chopping off the sides of the canyon. It meant deleting some elements and condensing others. And it meant changing some of the colors because of the deletion of the elements on the outside of the other painting. And I chopped off more or the right than the left. I also did not want Glorious to be just an abbreviated version of Rio Grande Rio. I have posted the original river painting below for comparison with the basic elements in the work in progress photo directly above.

Rio Grande Rio
24 x 30 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas

It was at this point I remembered a technique I had used early on in watercolor painting and that was the Chinese technique of applying an underlayment of India ink to facilitate shadows and create depth. In Rio Grande Rio I had used a wash of white to make the far canyon walls receded.

Shadows laid in for depth

I wanted a sunset in Glorious and that meant intense warm colors on the canyon walls. And because of the position of the setting sun stronger shadows. I was also able to define the negative space around the trees.

Laying in the basic colors of the receding hills

Like in Rio Grande Rio I wanted the left side of the river bank to be in more shade than the right, but I also wanted that in the river itself. So darker blues are on the left and more reflections of the sunset in the right side of the river. I have used India ink again to draw in the skeletons of the trees. India ink is waterproof and ergo I can paint over it with watercolor and then the oil sticks.

Trees drawn in

Foliage of the trees and bushes put in and darker colors added to the left bank. The photograph of the painting below at an almost done stage. More details to be added including my signature crows or ravens in the sky. And I added more metallic accents to the rocks and river after this photo was taken. Rio Grande Rio was more "realistic" than Glorious which I painted more to convey an emotion.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week 8 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 50

This week is all from Taos, New Mexico. I like architectural details, and the little things which give an area a personality. In Taos, it is the adobe look (note: little of the old plaza area of Taos is real adobe), the haint blue trim, and carved trim and posts.

Day 51

I also like shop windows. Off the plaza in the Bent Street area there is a favorite mineral shop. Now and again I buy a little treasure to have around the house but most of the larger items in this store remind me I own pets and that I can be a bull in a china shop. Safest to stay outside and photograph the treasures through the windows with the morning light.

Day 52

I also like the light and shadows on the fake adobe walls. Stucco for those that live in the midwest. The Bent street shops have charm even if they are not as authentic as the pretend to be. They at least do not all sell tee-shirts with the name of the town or ski area on them.

Day 53

 The main plaza in Taos was all wooden Victorian buildings which burned to the ground in 1931. When it was rebuilt they pretended to be a lot older. Most tourists do not know the difference. When I first moved back to New Mexico one whole side of the plaza were tourist traps. The south side was an old hotel, and Oglive's had a great restaurant on the second floor of the buildings on the east side. Many a great lunch on their balcony watching tourists.

Day 54

The cheap tourist stuff made in China still dominates. This is where you get the Taos tee-shirts. They do make for interesting photos of reflections.

Day 55

But it is off the plaza toward Bent Street that most locals in the area take tourists these days. It is where I gravitate with my camera. Off the plaza is where some of the truly historic buildings are also like the Gov. Dunn house and museum.

Day 56

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Week 7 - 2015 in Images

Day 43
A winter spring like day in Las Vegas, NM

I did not set out to make this week about structures - fixed and rolling - but that is the way it happened. All my photographic field trips were to cities with grand old buildings and great railroad cars. Straight lines and shapes were fun but also all the reflections in windows.

Day 44
Train yard in Santa Fe

Would have loved to traipse to my heart's content around the train yard but it was fenced on the side I approached it. Obviously another trip is in order.

Day 45
Rolling stock

It often takes more than one outing to become familiar with the photographic opportunities available. I took my second trip to Las Vegas, NM plaza. Still want to be down there on a cloudy day. Keep getting awesome blue skies.

Day 46
Reflections of the Plaza

If you are down on the first floor and photographing the second the lines will not be squared up. You can live with that like above or minimize that like the first photo or go for broke and accent the tilt like in the photo below.

Day 47
Looking up

Or just settle for photographing the bottom story of buildings. The photo below is the ground floor but the ground is below that really. I photographed it off center (note the little purple me in the bottom left window). I was quite a distance from the building.

Day 48
Off Plaza in Taos

Standing really close to a building and focusing up is fun. Did that with the building I tilted and this column. Obviously I want to explore strange angles for architectural shots more. So another trip to Las Vegas, Raton on Trinidad is in the offing. Taos does not have any tall structures.

Day 49
Standing Tall

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Week Six - 2015 in Images

Day 36

This week ended up being studies in blue. The tone was set by the blue water and ice in the Little Coyote Creek. Five of the pictures of this week were taken on a day outing to the Coyote Creek State Park in search of ice which I found. But areas of open water with their intense blue captured my interest. I could have done a whole seven days of that same blue water but I decided to feature other blues in this week's photos like the grey blue of the snowy mountains near Eagle Nest Lake.

Day 37

The subtle blue of the hills next to the frozen over Eagle Nest Lake with its white blue ice is a major contrast to the intense blue of Coyote Creek edged with the clear ice and white snow.

Day 38

The turquoise blue of a railroad car in Santa Fe attracted me first because of the deep almost purple blue of the roof. I used a filter on it which gave it a watery look like the other pictures in this week review.

Day 39

Day 40

It was such a summery week to be out taking photographs. The sunlight sparkled off of every thing but especially the ice in the process of melting and the water with its patches of thin ice.

Day 41

I fell in love with the textures of ice, water and forming ice. The ice in the last picture is more like the frozen Eagle Nest Lake in photograph two. And the red and gold grasses around the edge of the creek is like the gold interior of the railroad car or the gold on the rock of the first picture.

Day 42

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Week Five - 2015 in Photographs

Day 29
Awaiting Serious Snow

This is my fourth year of the 365 Day Photographic challenge and I decided to do one week every so often where I focus on one post processing technique or one subject. This week was black and white. Over the last couple of weeks when I came up with a good photograph to put post process black and white I put them in Week Five folder. My sister is the black and white guru and I need practice. Not just in the post processing but in the selection of subject.

B&W landscapes are best with noisy skies like below or a busy subject and background like above. The front end loader was also a garish yellow in a largely black and white world with the snow and absence of leaves. I didn't go totally to black and white on the machine but reduced saturation to a minimum. I like the memory of color.

Day 30
The Far Hills
B&W is also great with snow and aspens. And in the photograph below the strong shadows.

Day 31
Casting shadows

In the photograph below taken this last fall I wanted the viewer to focus on the details in the onion flower. I did this one also be reducing saturation. Just a hit of green and yellow left.

Day 32
Thinking of Summer

I took the photo below fully intending to make it black and white. I felt when focusing on the dead tree frozen in ice that the far let unfrozen water was not a great color. But as a darker block it did not distract from the branch skeletons.

Day 33
Frozen in

Branches can also make up for the lack of a noisy sky. The sky was a brilliant blue, there was a tiny white cloud at the meeting of the two hills and the stark bare branches. In color the blue stole the show. In B&W the webbing of branches are to focus.

Day 34
Bare Branches of Winter

The color stealing the show is the same in the ice photograph below. Because of the rocks on the bottom the water was an amazing gold but without the detail to sustain the photograph. B&W was the solution and not the objective.

Day 35
Ice on Little Coyote
Next week back to color.