Owyhee Plein air

March 11, 2016

I haven't posted in a while, obvious so anyone who might be checking. I have been busy at the studio, getting set-up and painting a bit. 


Tuesday, the morning was glorious and I dropped everything, grabbed my watercolor pad and took off to paint. I usually gravitate to the Owyhee Front along the Snake River above (upstream) of Marsing, and did so that morning. I stopped at Walter's Ferry for some potato planks, but they were sold out. I was bummed, but proceeded on south to the Silver City Road. The sign told that the road to Silver City was closed ten miles ahead due to heavy snow. 


I drove up a ways and got off the pavement and parked facing War Eagle Mtn. I did a value sketch of the scene, but was not impressed so I got out of the cab of my pickup and looked 180 degrees across the valley toward the Boise Front. It was rather beautiful, so I set my gear on the tailgate and did a quick watercolor sketch.

As one can plainly see, my distance across the valley is way off. I was trying to show the mountains, which came out well, but the expanse between me and the mountains, some 30-40 miles, I milled miserably. 


A kind member of the Nampa Art Guild pointed out that I had not taken into account ariel perspective. If I cut the bottom half off, I would have had a nice sketch of the mountains, but to show the expanse, I had to lighten the mountains, make them smaller, darken the sky at the top of the painting and I needed to go from larger clouds at the top of the painting to smaller hear the top of the mountains, then lighten, perhaps gray down the middle distance bring some appearance of distance into the painting. Whew!  


She was right of course.  I tried a couple of sketches later, which I don't have photographed, but iher advice/teaching worked. 


All in all, I spent a great fun day. What made it even more special . . . I stopped at the Murphy Museum on the way home and toured and visited with the staff.  It is a great place with a great many historical artifacts, local art  and collections to see. If you are a fan of the West, the museum is a must see. Virtually in the middle of nowhere, the place has a certain charm and quiet.


It is starting to green-up down low and the high desert is quite beautiful. The Snake River always offers beautiful color and reflections and wildlife abounds. Am I heading back soon??? Oh yeah.

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