Natural Pigments, Day 4

Mt. Blanca

Got up this morning and knew I wanted to paint snow. Since it is NOT falling but rather it is MELTING, paint might be my best hope…

When I hike, I take photos and some of the photos are essentially sketches. Some artists think painting from photos is wrong, but I don’t think there’s any moral imperative about how someone paints. I usually take photos of places I love, most often places that are familiar to me, places I have actually SEEN. The camera helps me compose. I don’t draw much. I’m a painter and even when I “sketch” it’s going to be kind of painterly. I dunno’ why. My wonderful drawing teacher, Jean Schiff, noted one day, “You’re a painter.” From then on, in our drawing class, I drew with inch-wide brushes carrying wet black or white paint to the cardboard that had replaced my drawing tablet. It wasn’t perfect, but…

When I sketch, it’s with colored pencils — watercolor pencils — always with the thought of dragging water over the lines.

So, yesterday I took a photo of a view that was completely surprising. Sometimes the light and wind has the visual effect of bringing the mountains closer visually. That happened yesterday.

The colors I used today that are not part of the natural pigments set are cerulean blue, which I underpainted in the lower portion of the sky, zinc white to tint the blues, for the snow on the ground and light in the sky, and Gamblin’s Radiant White for the snow on Mt. Blanca. Everything else is from the set of natural pigments. The painting is small, 5″ x 7″.

18 thoughts on “Natural Pigments, Day 4

  1. You are indeed a painter! I LOVE your painting. Having delved into painters and their techniques, I’ve noticed dozens and dozens that capture a place with a camera and then paint it later so it refreshes their memory. So enjoying your painting Martha!

  2. So real!! I am amazed that you can do such great sky and then your trees impress me too! An Snow! I could never paint or draw snow – I have a hard time seeing the contrasts…

  3. You’ve inspired me. For years I’ve toyed with learning to sketch, use charcoal or colored pencils, even pastels. A few years ago a friend took several of my photos of local landscapes and created oil paintings, much like yours; he was pushing himself to do a small painting a day as a way to gain skill. He gave four of them based on my photos to me to hang in my house. I want to try something similar, and will be using photos as I start playing and try to learn. A beginner’s kit of pencils and pastels arrived yesterday, with a book to get me started. Thanks for inspiring me to try something new and completely outside my comfort zone!

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