Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kansas at Dusk

I started this painting a few months back by simply mixing phthalo blue with mars black (about 50%-50%) and brushing it on the panel board loosely with lots of water using an Essex Series 542 bright size 10 brush. I believe three layers of gesso had been applied beforehand. I let the board sit for a few months because the blue-black was so entrancing I really didn't want to ruin the effect, but eventually I knew I had to move forward with the initial vision, so I sat down to paint some more. Using the same brush, I painted straight mars black across the bottom, trying to mimic the undulating landscape of the Flint Hills to the west while traveling north on Tuttle Creek Boulevard past the hog farms about an hour after the sun has gone down. To capture the light still echoing in the air, I mixed 60% titanium white and 40% cadmium yellow medium hue and applied the mixture with a small round brush above the black. This light yellow mixed with some of the black, so I brushed it in and blended down from the horizon. The makeup of the panel board allowed for this to happen with little frustration. I ended up throwing in some phthalo blue at the very bottom for good measure.

The inspiration for this painting came as I was driving out to the lake on a clear October night to attend a concert that I ultimately did not go see because of how late I arrived. The thin line of yellow contrasted against the pitch black of the hills was ultimately so inspiring that I forwent the concert to go back home and paint. But before deciding to do this, I paced back and forth outside of the house where the concert was being held, trying to weigh whether the price of making a late entrance would be worth the glares and continuing to stare dumbstruck at the dark hills against the midnight sky. The beauty of the light against the landscape proved too powerful (and the cost of the glares did not seem worth the price of admission), so I went home to blast some Tom Waits, drink an IPA, and paint this and other things.

I highly doubt I'm done with this, but I'm honestly stuck for what to do next. It is interesting to note that if you rotate this photo 180 degrees, the image changes to a night at sea after the sun has gone down. Beautiful.

Size is 16 x 20 inches.

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