The painting process 48×60

Taos Gorge Bridge

This studio painting was  using the aid of photos. 

My process is simple but important. I first have to visit the location for at least an hour. Multiple visits help. I have to get the feel of the place, the energy and the history. I have to feel the breeze and sun hitting my back. I have to think about the place, the image..

While I’m at the location, I take pictures, lot of pictures.

When I get home, I go through the images on my computer and edit and crop my favorites. Sometimes I duplicate the image I have chosen and make one a gray scale. It is very important to get the values correct.

From there I can start. I need to work fast though for in a couple days that “feeling” of the place starts to die away. In order to paint that place, I need to “feel” the place.

Once I have the composition figured out, I can start laying down paint. I start with a warm undercoat in golden tones, then I use mixed ultramarine blue and burnt umber to lay in my values. I do this with a brush. I apply thinned out paint that is diluted with a painting medium. The blue is the complement to the warm tone of the gold so already I have contrast that will help spark up the final work.

As I continue on, I build up the painting by switching from brush to palette knife. Most often I use large knives or spatulas. By using these large size, it helps me to stay loose. By painting inside, I have the luxury of a climate controlled space so you need to push yourself to work fast and stay loose. Working with large tools is one way to do this. I also listen to lively, fast paced music!

Taos Gorge Bridge over Rio Grande
Oil on Canvas

As the final painting emerges, I start to switch back to smaller knives and brushes to lay in final details.

Taos Gorge Bridge