|Upper Ridge at Dusk, 2011, oil on panel, 18 x 18.||Mt. Shuksan in Sunlight, 2010, oil on panel, 12 x 12.|
At my April 2011 exhibition at Lisa Harris Gallery, I gave an hour-long presentation on my "In Sunlight" series. This was a special opportunity for artists and laypersons to get a "studio perspective" on my creative process for landscape paintings executed in the studio. One of the key lessons is the proper use of photographic reference. Paintings should never look like the photograph, but only be used as a launching point. I alter the original reference, severely cropping and inventing color combinations. I also discussed how I synthesize compositions into a few simplified shapes, handle paint texture to augment spatial illusion, and work with color strategies.
The painting series experiments with alternative ways to capture the illusion of natural light. In many paintings (discussed in Video 2), I almost completely abandon traditional value relationships in favor of saturated colors, modulated primarily with subtle hue and temperature differences. You can read more about the development of this series in three posts at my blog, Essential Concepts of Landscape Painting, and see the whole series of paintings at my portfolio site.
Video 1 covers the paintings Snow Rivers in Half Light and Pinnacle Peak, Last Light.
Video 2 covers the quartet of brilliant "yellow" paintings for which the series is named.
Video 3 covers the paintings Upper Ridge in Snow, Upper Ridge at Dusk, and White Space.
Video 4 covers the paintings December Peak and Ascent, followed by a Q&A session.
Mitchell Albala is the author of Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice (Watson-Guptill, 2009). Find him on Facebook and YouTube.