Saturday, January 29, 2011

Birthday Hike

For my birthday, I chose to hike the Grapevine Trail to check out the waterfall at the end.  The late morning light was great for photographing slow speed images.  Here are some of my favorites.  We were surprised to find the waterfall was frozen, exhibiting an awesome cascading ice sculpture.  Happy Birthday to me!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Oil Painting - West Fork Reflections

I've really enjoyed my winter break from grad school, especially having time to paint in the studio.  This 16x20 inch oil was painted only with a pallette knife.  When I started painting, I was using a brush but decided the pallette knife would create the kind of effects I wanted.  This is part of West Fork, about 2.5 miles in, where a natural dam of logs created this reflecting pool.  The sun was illuminating the autumn colors on the opposite bank that were reflected in the quiet waters.  There is some movement in the water in the lower right, where a red leaf floats on the surface.  This was a lot of fun to paint!  Now, I must get back to revising my thesis and save up another bucket full of painting ideas for this summer.  Who knows, I might find some free time to whip up another painting while my thesis is being reviewed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wolf Creek Falls

With all of the recent snow and melting runoff, my wife and I were interested to check out Wolf Creek Falls.  The waterfall was not heavy but the weather was perfect for a hike.  I lugged down a tripod to capture these pics.  The last few images are actually Hassayampa Creek not much further downstream from the falls.

Friday, January 21, 2011

West Fork Oil Painting

This tranquil scene is one of my favorite spots to hike to at West Fork.  I am impressed by the sloping red cliff, the crystal clear waters, and the backlit rock formations and trees.  This oil painting is 16x20 inches, using a combination of brush and palette knife. I strive for a painterly effect with realistic lighting and vibrant colors as I remembered this view.  I did work from a photo but am not a slave to it, also referring to a charcoal value study sketch.  This sounds like an appropriate title: "West Fork Autumn."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Diversity of Arizona

Arizona is a state of diverse climates and environments.  As an example, below are two photos taken within a 3 hour drive of each other.  The first is from the Superstition Mountains, southeast of Phoenix, and the second is the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff.  For a nature lover such as me, the variety of sights is inspiring and always refreshing.  Just last weekend, I visited the Superstitions for the first time.  I feel sorry to be saying this since I am an Arizona native.  What kept me away?  Well, for one, I must drive through Phoenix...  I prefer the less crowded Northern Arizona for my hiking adventures.  Right now and during the next two months is a great time of year to hike in the desert, spring is already starting there.  The image of the SF Peaks was from New Year's Day while snowshoeing just East of Flagstaff.  So, within a couple weeks of each other, I experienced a high of about 35 in Flagstaff to about 75 in Phoenix.  If you live in AZ and can't stand the weather or would like a change, just drive a couple hours to a different climate zone.  Enjoy AZ!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Painting Snow

In an earlier blog, I mentioned painting snow and felt inspired to paint this scene.  My wife and I snow-shoed to this spot after receiving about a foot of snow.  New fallen snow is a beautiful blanket creating graceful contours of the rocks and bushes it has covered.  Here, Lynx Creek is partially covered with ice and rays of sun filter through the trees highlighting the far bank of the creek.  I wanted to portray this kind of light.  Painting snow is actually quite fun.  I enjoyed trying warm and cool colors to define the shape and mass of the snow, using pale yellow to suggest high spots where light is hitting, blues and purples in the shadow areas.  The finished size of this oil painting is 18x24 inches.   

Monday, January 10, 2011

Prescott, AZ

I thought to share this picture because it really personifies Prescott.  This is at the south side of the courthouse, Christmas lights still grace the trees, "Cowboy at Rest" speaks of Prescott's early history, and a gorgeous sunset behind Thumb Butte is a common occurance.  I am fortnuate to live in Prescott around such beautiful history and scenery!