This is a painting I just got done called "Mountain Solitude". I actually started this painting having fun with my granddaughter because she likes to paint with me while she is visiting. This is a 24" x 30" canvas and I just let her start taking paint and putting it on the canvas wherever she wanted and after she was done I smoothed it out to see if I could create something with it. She's only 5 years old so it doesn't take long for her to get bored. This is a great creative exercise for me because it forces me to use my creative muscle.
She always likes red and she put a lot of red on the canvas so I turned it into a painting with a lot of sun light. I have a lot of photographic references from the Rocky Mountains so I put the mountains in and the cool rushing waters of the mountain stream. I used a lot of green in the stream to offset the red. Some paintings just seem to lend themselves to a particular species and this one looked like it should have elk in it to me so that's what I went with.
Painting rocks is always interesting to me. I put some rocks in this painting because they add nice contrast to the grass and trees and you can't have rapids without rocks. I always lay in a dark base for my big rocks and then I put the highlight side on letting the paint break as I spread it to let the dark base show through. This makes it look like cracks and little grooves in the rocks. I then do the same thing on the back side of the stone using a blue tone for reflected light. The darkest part of the rock should be somewhere in the middle of the rock formation. This is the same method I use on tree trunks. After it has dried a day I come back and lay a brighter highlight on the edge of the high light side just to give it an extra kick.
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