Saturday, July 16, 2011

Study on Rocks

I had the pleasure of spending a number of days this week on vacation in the beautiful state of Utah.  I can say that as for rock formations you would have to look long and hard to find a more stunning example of color and variation in the rocks than my neighboring beehive state.  I spent hours this week just studying the rock cliffs and formations that surrounded the area of Marysvale.   As I have stated in my last post, Rocks are an area that I seem to struggle with in my paintings.  My tendancy is to make them all uniform, outlined and smooth and as we all know if you have looked at rock that isn't what we see. 

When I returned to the studio yesterday I was determined to conquer my deficiency.  Armed with a number of new brushes that I purchased at the local Hobby Lobby store I set out to rework a painting I did last week called Hiking Buddies.  This painting is special to me because it is inspired by my little 3 year old grandson, Gavin and my very active rat terrier, Cookie. 

As you can see there are plenty of rocks in my painting but again I feel that they lacked depth and variation.  I find they are a distraction to the focal point of my painting, which of course are the two adorable "Hiking Buddies". 
No I have worked on the rocks by adding more variation in color and shading.  I have also brightened the trees and the dead branches, which I now feel direct the eye to my intended focus.  I also tried to create more contrast by adding lighting highlights on the rocks that would be facing the sun.  While I'm sure that many improvements could be made I feel that I'm heading on the right path when it comes to rocks.  Practice is the key and I'm currently working on a piece inspired by my stay in Utah that contains a number of cliffs and large boulders. 

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