“When Beauty Reflects” is a 18 x 36″ original oil painting fresh off the easel. I painted this in my studio, believe it or not, during a rainy day in Tucson. However, as you can see, it is not a desert painting. This is from the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies are the reason I fell in love with the West when I was a teenager.
Capturing a sunset to transfer into a painting is all about being at the right time and the right place. The light that I am usually looking for last only for a few seconds. So, I try to find the location of the composition I’m after and then wait. There are more times than not that the light never gets right. But on the rare occasion, I get the perfect reference and can’t wait to get back in the studio to transform a reference photo into a painting. The good news is, I love to be out in the wilderness, I love sunsets (and sunrises) so getting in the perfect place and waiting for perfect light is something I love to do!
For an artist, it is important to spend a lot of time with the things you paint. A photograph alone will not work. While digital cameras have change photography dramatically, they still cannot replace the abilities of our eyes to see the colors of a sunset and the foreground at the same time. And yet, when we are out in nature our perception allows us to take it all in. This is so important for the artist. Paintings painted from a photograph without the experience of location are often stale and simply a miss when it come to color and atmosphere. The other reason that it is important for me to have been on location is to get the feel of a place and a moment. Once I’m back in the studio standing at the easel with a reference and a blank canvas, I can recall the sounds, smells and all that my senses took in while there, and hopefully translate that feeling onto the canvas along with every brush stoke.