Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lee's Ferry--Grand Canyon

12" x 16"  oil on clayboard
$395.00 + $10. s/h
please contact me if interested

Lee's Ferry is where the Grand Canyon officially starts.  For people headed out on Colorado River raft trips, this is the official launch spot.  Actually, the launch site is right behind me.  Our son just got back from a 30 day river trip down the Colorado, through the Grand Canyon; it took 30 days due to the fact that they were in motorless rafts.  My husband did this trip several summers ago in 10 days;  they had motors to help speed them through the slow, rapidless spots.  Our son went w/ a group of guys he met while a geology major.  One friend "put in" for 8 years before getting a spot.  If you choose to raft on your own, without a commercial guide, it's a lottery.  And, winning the lottery is a huge deal.  Only a few rafts are allowed to launch each day.  This alleviates overcrowding on the river and the camping places each night.

Lee's Ferry is just down river from the Glen Canyon Dam, outside of Paige, Az.  Before the dams of the 20th century, Lee's Ferry benefitted from a geologic circumstance.  Due to shale deposits it was the only place to cross the Colorado River for 260 miles.  Everywhere else along the Colorado from Moab, Utah to Laughlin, Nevada, the river had cut through limestone and sandstone creating vertical cliffs and gorges as it eroded, making it impossible to ford.

In the paintings I've done lately, I've been trying to think about and be aware of the value.  For this one I did 2 quick value studies in pencil.  In the top study I have the lights, mediums and very dark shadows.  In the bottom I blended most of the darks together into one shape.

Then I did an value study in oils.  For these grays I mixed terra rosa, black and white.  I don't do this w/ every painting.  But, I will say that when I got to the color, it was pretty quick and easy.  I tried to stay right w/in the true value ranges and just put down the color notes.


Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

I've been there! And you did a great job with this - I think the values are crucial in landscape paintings (well, duh, in all paintings, no?). Thanks for sharing your process!

Natalie Italiano said...

NIce studies Pam. I think the values on the final painting work really well. I need to do these too. I like the terra rosa and black and white.

Jan Yates, SCA said...

Beautiful composition and brushwork..planning does go a long way ( not as far as your son:-) really enjoyed reading re the area and journey!

AutumnLeaves said...

Great mini lesson, Pam. Thanks for that! I must say that your son sounds like quite an intriguing guy! And what a fun adventure! ('Course, I need to have my daily bath/shower and several times a day to brush my teeth, but otherwise? This sounds like my kind of thing!)

Pam Holnback said...

Kelley, Then you know what a beautiful spot it is. Did you do a long raft trip?

Thanks Natalie, I think any color combination works w/ a value study, but iI like the warmth of this combination for a landscape. And, yes, it was a good practice.

Jan, Thank you. You're so right, planning helps!

Thank you Autumn, I'm sure the guys brushed their teeth; but showers? !

Gwen Bell said...

I've always loved this color combo and it works great on this subject. Strong and serene at the same time.

Great to see how you approach it.

Ralph said...

I join with all the rest in praising this blog. Thanks for poppin intot my blog or blogs I am aware you are following one. I have much to learn from you and will contine to pop into your blog here to see what you have been up to. I see you are a person of great patience this more than anything I need to learn. Thanks again

Nancy B. Hartley said...

Pam, loved your value studies! Great post, wonderful reminder of how important this prliminary work is! I also love the composition and color of this painting, beautiful!

Ray said...

What timing! I just began following you, and up pops this post featuring the Grand Canyon.
I finally got my first back country trip into the Canyon this winter. And am planning another for next fall.

Lee's Ferry is also one of my next destinations to 'check out' the rafting options for an "old man".
I so enjoy your work and am envious of people like you who design and create remarkable images, I just capture them.

ps. Has your son posted his trip, per chance?

Pam Holnback said...

Gwen, Thank you. Mother Nature seems to know what colors go well together!

Ralph, Thanks for visiting. I usually try to plan, but sometimes I don't.

Thank you Nancy, we know that value is a good basis for a piece!

Thanks Ray, Hope you can get a trip into the Grand Canyon. You might look into some of the private companies. You can find them online. I don't think my son is blogging this. Although he did keep a journal.

Karen said...

I find the value sketches to be so helpful , and like you said, they make the color go more quickly and easily.

I'm curious, which did you find more useful: the value study (the top one) with more values, or the one where you pulled all of the darks together? At first glance this last one seems better simplified, but then I wonder if I'd get confused about then how to go back in and add subtle value variations within that dark mass??