Monday, April 25, 2016

Is Red Rock Red?

One of my first attempt studies in painting red rock. This subject was so new to me being an east coast artist. I'm very familiar with dark, slick moss covered river stone and the jagged rocks of the New England coast.

Sedona red rock offered a few challenges. One being, trying to understand the forms and structure of the rocks themselves. Secondly, what color was I actually seeing? Just because it's called "red rock" doesn't mean I can apply a brush full of red straight from the tube and expect it to look correct in the painting.

In this scene, the "red" was more orange in color. A yellow-orange in the light and a darker more burnt sienna color in shadow. Using tiny amounts of blue, blue-violets and white helped desaturate the yellow-orange rock in light. Similar blue-violet mixes (excluding white) were used to make the rock in shadows the correct value and saturation.

Depending on the ratio, mixing the complements blue and orange can result in Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna-like colors. For this reason, I don't always bother carrying or laying out burnt sienna on my palette. It's just too easy to mix from scratch.

Title: Sedona Courthouse Butte
Painted on: SourceTek oil primed linen
Medium: Oil
Dimensions: 6x8 inches
Status: Available

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