Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Transparents in the Landscape

New Mexico Light
8x6" oil on Linen Panel $140. SOLD

Artist Note.
I belong to a group of
painters who issue a
Challenge to paint from
a photo of New Mexico

This is Challenge #10 for 2016
So beautiful and typical of NM.

At the Guild this month
we are learning the joys of using
a transparent color foundation
so I thought I would demo this
image to one of the classes.

Transparent colors used:
Indian Yellow
Alizarin Perm.
Ultramarine Blue.

Starting with very thin
coat of  IY
all over and
lifting off cleanly with rag and Gamsol
where I will place the
blue of the mountain
(don't want it green!)
Add a touch of Aliz
to the IY for the
warm ground, etc.
Aliz and UB for the purple
Adding UB and IY with hint
the purple for the Green.
Simple shapes of value and color
at this stage.

I moved the peak of the mountain
slightly to the side to avoid
having it directly
over the featured bush. 
All transparent colors for block in.

Starting to add opaques on sky, 
mountain and top area of ground

It could be considered finished
at this point but
 nearly all the
transparent areas 
have been covered and 
it is looking too heavy.
for my taste.

Not sure I liked seeing so much of the 
warmer colors behind the featured bush
so below you can see changes 
I made to that area area

 Choice to be made
I decide on this one.

Now to tackle the other
 I have some major issues 
with the front bushes 
competing with the focal area. 
Also all the transparent glow 
has been lost,
I decided to test what it 
would look like if I removed 
 the front bushes. 
I placed a piece of glass 
over and painted on it first.
Yep - I can see it opened it up.

Then I restored all the 
golden transparent color with 
IY and Aliz. making the foreground
rich and glowing...once again.
Not shown on the one above.

Next - 
I lowered the big bush at its base
and add another bush to balance 
it over on the left. I added a strip 
of light behind the 
large bush area to 
set back the mountain even more
and bring the bush forward.
I placed a strip of fence in 
front of the left bush
to add to the feeling of distance.

Finally getting to where I feel
I have made the painting my own.

I admire the way each artist 
in Lets Paint New Mexico
has a different viewpoint 
from the same image.
Scroll though the link 
and look at all the great paintings. 
Some fun challenges are on there.


  1. This is beautiful! I love the glow you gave to the scene...much better than the photo. Thanks for taking the time to show us what your thought process was through the stages. I went to the website and looked at all the paintings from the challenges for this year. It was great to see the wonderful variations of the same theme.

  2. I love seeing your progress photos! Great demo! Your final turned out wonderful. So full of color and texture. I love that.

    1. Thanks Cathy. Happy you like it.
      I feel the same way about your golfer painting. Solid design and good painting really makes it a winner! I loved it.

  3. Julie,

    Went down a bit of a rabbit hole looking at the painting group that you belong too!

    I can really see where this demo is helpful. It's the mechanics of using the paint and making the design decisions that gives me the most insight in how I would proceed if I was standing there with you painting. It's hard to get that on your own. And it was good to have the pictures to go along with what you wrote. Need the verbal as well as the visual, I do!

    Wonderful results. Your landscape is tremendously beautiful.

    1. What a great and positive comment. Thanks so much, Libby.
      I always enjoy the stories you write about what your goal is and the steps you take to achieve it. .I particularly get involved with the abstraction aspect... allowing me to use my imagination, and I like that. My work is easy to comprehend visually so I miss that in my own work.

  4. I really enjoyed looking at the "lets paint New Mexico" site. What a great idea! I love the balance of the warm and cool in your painting! The glow of the foreground is beautifully rendered against the coolness of the sky! I putting your transparent pallete away in my tool box for the future! Thanks Julie!

    1. Nice of you to go and take a look. I enjoy the diversity.
      Thanks for the great comment. Any praise from you warms my heart.

  5. This is beautiful Julie and I appreciate your telling and showing your process. I think I am finally starting to get that my painting doesn't have to be exactly like the photo because no on has to see the photo except me and the painting will tell the story on it's own.

    I will particularly take away the idea of painting on a piece of glass to see if what you are painting will fit with the overall picture. I could have used this on a painting I am working on. I am always learning. Thanks so much. Have a great weekend.

    1. Good to hear that about the photo,, Carol. One of the hardest aspects of teaching is when an artist wants to copy the photo exactly. Shadow too dark, sky way too cyan (due to printing ink colors) and perspective off. Thats before deciding if it would look better, rearranged.
      Painting on the glass is important for me. I have them in different sizes
      I place them over the artist's work and show the correction on the glass. Works perfectly. It has saved many of my paintings too.
      I loved seeing the video of the groundhog. A real treat.

  6. I really love this Julie. It is the New Mexico I saw when I was there two years ago. The colors are amazing and you always capture them so eloquently in your paintings. Your technical instruction is easy to follow and having seen you paint before, it just makes that much more sense as I read it.
    Your painting just glows. Amazing.

    1. That s has been two years already. June is when I came and stayed with you last year. So much fun.
      Yes, the transparent areas have a lovely glow. I do not always stop in time to save it though.
      Loved your two chairs. Neat the way you carved into the paint.

  7. This is one of my favorites landscapes of yours EVER!

    1. I like the EVER ! - thanks, Audrey.
      Congratulations on getting your fun cupcake painting accepted into the show. Well painted - well deserved.

  8. Beautiful glowing painting. Great lesson also. Thank you Julie. As our grandkids say, you rock!

    1. Hi Blanche - yep...that is a term my grandkids have used too.
      Are you painting at all? Miss seeing new work.

  9. What a great illustration in how to create YOUR impression of a landscape. You've shown so clearly that a painting can, and ought to, evolve beyond being a mere depiction of what is before the artist. It's also reassuring to see that even an accomplished painter, such as yourself, finds they have to reverse-turn-left-go-back or do whatever re-direction becomes necessary to "make" a better painting. I've said it before, but you are such a resourceful and generous teacher. Let's Paint N.M. looks like a great site, and what a dandy concept!
    By the way, thank you for your lovely comments on my oranges. You are always so very supportive.

    1. Thanks Helene. It is perceptive of you to realize that I have total involvement in a painting until it becomes my own. It is paint and correct all the way. Very rare one flows off the end off my brush Thanks for the meaningful comment.
      My thoughts on your beautiful orange painting are sincere. It glowed.

  10. your painting looks so bright and colourful :D

    1. Hi Jennifer - glad it looked that way - thanks.
      Congrats on finishing your dragon. Clever hat!

  11. You know I love landscape painting even though recently I've been painting a lot of flowers. I love this and I am always so glad you are so free with the info of how you got from point A to point Z. Thanks a bunch.

    1. WE are a lot alike in that we switch around in our subject matter. We both value beauty.
      I enjoyed your post on Joy and Peace. You are spot on.

  12. A beautiful painting Julie and such a wonderful lesson that even I can The colors are brilliant and this is how I remember beautiful New Mexico!!!

    1. Hi Hilda - lol indeed - you are so advanced with your art.
      Glad you remember New Mexico. It sure is beautiful.

  13. Dear Julie this painting is just the way I would picture NM. The blend of warms and cools are so lovely. You are so generous in sharing the changes you arrived with the finished work. Just beautiful dear friend.

    1. Happy you like it thank you, good buddy!
      Yes - this is pretty true to the New Mexico I love. They don't call it, The Land of Enchantment, for nothing.
      I had a big smile seeing your post. Classic dog chasing a groundhog up a tree - loved it!

  14. What a great post, Julie - you are such a gifted painted and a gifted teacher as well! Seeing your process and learning of your decision making was invaluable. Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks for such kind works, Susan. They mean a lot.
      Welcome back and happy to hear you enjoyed Van Gogh's Museum so much. Lucky YOU!

  15. Thank you for sharing your thought processes on this piece, Julie. What wonderful insights!

    1. How generous you are, Diana. Thank you.
      You are also an amazing artist.

  16. I love seeing your process Julie, the painting is exquisite!I love the light! Will check out the others works now.

  17. Hello, always such a pleasure to visit your work. We both share to love of color.

  18. Very wonderful painting with so amazing colours !!!

  19. Just loved seeing the process of this beautiful painting.....wonderful post !

  20. I have always enjoyed the NEW MEXICO landscapes.. hmm only through movies :-) this is so beautiful Julie. Interesting explanation through the various stages you have shared,thanks!

  21. You've captured the colours and atmosphere beautifully!!

  22. Dear Julie,I try to continue my painting path....
    After Danilo,now my sister passed away...younger than me.

    Valentina leaves Houston for London relocation,last week.
    I hope visit her soon.

    I appreciate always your gorgeous way to painting .You explain so well your process...Transparent colors give a charming light in summer mood,soft but powerful.

  23. Great painting! I love the warmth.


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