Sunday, September 8, 2013


I have been in the studio the last week working on two large pieces simultaneously. When I get tired with one I switch to the other. They are both at stages where I need to let them dry before continuing. I noticed this morning that I was starting to tighten up, stylistically speaking. I want my studio pieces, regardless of their size to stay loose like my plein air work. When things begin to get too tight,  I head outdoors to grab a couple of field studies and that typically loosens me right back up. 

Today it is 102 degrees in north Texas so going outside is not an option. I decide to set up my En Plein Air Pro easel ( and pick a nice photo to paint from. I need to do another piece for the Collectors Covey Miniature Show so while working on getting loose with my paint I will create a piece for the show at the same time. Its

So here's my setup and I have already started laying in the drawing.

Just like being outdoors, except I have a bathroom close by. I don't like that big boulder at the bottom left so I am going to redesign this area to get a more pleasing design and it will help with the lead into the painting. The photo is of Alberta Falls in the Rocky Mountain National Park by the way.

As with most paintings I start by painting in the darks and the shadow patterns. I tend to paint over the darks so even though this looks like a really yucky dark blackish color it is actually a purplish violet with some occasional ultramarine blue thrown in.

Continuing with the darks. Notice as I get toward the area above the waterfall I have lightened the value and added more blue to the color because this area gets more light than the area at the base of the waterfall.

Here's the actual photograph I'm working from so you can see where I'm going with the painting and see the design change I make at the bottom.

Okay so now you can see the design change. I have removed the big boulder at the bottom left and increased the length of the waterfall. The upside down "V" shape at the bottom leads the viewer's eye from bottom right to the left taking the viewer directly to the base of the waterfall then up the waterfall and out of the painting at the top.

Satisfied with the design I begin moving rather quickly to finish the painting. Here I am using the "magic brush" to put in the waterfall.

Finished the waterfall now I am painting the water runoff at the bottom. This close up gives you an idea of the textures I've created.

Finishing up the bottom pool of water. Notice how I've created the feeling of the river rocks below the water. 
Pretty nifty. Learned that from Scott Christensen.

Using the palette knife to create texture in the aspens.

The completed painting. I'll let it sit in the corner for a week then give it one final going over before sending it to Collectors Covey.


paintlady said...

I like very much~good to see stages of progression, Rusty!

Jeanice Smith said...

I quickly noticed that you did not follow the photo exactly. Your interpretation is beautiful (as usual) but wish you had followed the photo closer. It had some interesting zigs and zags near the bottom rock. ;-) I confess I could not have done it as well as you did, though.

Rusty Jones said...

Thanks you two. Jeanice, I can see what you mean, but I had to get rid of that big boulder because it would have taken up way too much space and garnered way too much attention. I'm touching up the painting tonight. Going to rework the top portion. I'll give that bottom a good look to see if adding the jagged edges you mention will help.

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