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New Work: Low Lights, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches

Updated: Nov 2


Exhibiting: Bill Hester Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM $6650 framed

About this oil:

Someone that knows my work well sent me a photo she took outside of an aircraft window. I am so glad she thought of me and took the trouble to get that photo to me.

I immediately wanted to make a painting with those colors. That palette was a great opportunity for something more abstracted so I chose to do a very red-orange sky with very little else.

Once the idea was roughly painted onto the canvas, I could see how a blue band of sky at the top would create a powerful counterpoint to all of the warmer colors. Further, the smoother band of land at the bottom was a useful way to place all of the sky above into a recognizable context.

The main part of this oil was a playground and I explored it thoroughly with the reds and oranges. Something that is not obvious to non-artists is that in order to make the oranges and reds more interesting, then one has to use a lot of other colors and put them into the mix.

With that, anything could happen and it did! The oil went through a lot of changes but I was always focused on enhancing the central red-orange glow and the yellow sky coming through at the bottom.

I considered the painting finished a number of times because it had plenty going for it but after leaving it along for a week, some other ideas came forward.

There were four last moves that really enhanced the oil.

First was the addition of the almost jarring blue clouds, center right. Those small clouds interrupted the orange clouds and made them really stand out.

Second, the blue sky was made more complex and brighter, adding power to oil.

Next, I changed was a darker band of land at the bottom, painting over that and using colors that were slightly different than the clouds above, making a glowing companion to the brighter sky above.

The last move wasn’t a logical one but it helped the painting even more. I greyed down the clouds on the lower left side and added a hint of purple to the land below. By subtracting some of the hot colors, what remained seemed even brighter. That was a very satisfying end to a late evening painting session.

There is much to reflect on here with each part making the painting more interesting – a grand puzzle.





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