working on "sangres with purple clouds" on a snowy day in may / skies / by Philip Tarlow

7 pm: SKIES at 7 pm

                                                     the skies over the sangres at 6:30 PM as seen from our deck

3:40 PM: after working on sangres with purple clouds this morning (see 1pm post, below) i re-engaged with motion 21, which i've been working on since april 24th. i wanted it to be different form the rest of the series, in that it retains more of the under-drawing. although i have worked over that drawing with oil, i haven't disappeared it, so that all of it can be seen as you view the painting, rather seeing it peek through in select areas.

as a result, if you view the series here:  you'll immediately notice that motion 21 is more dispersed compositionally, and has less of a centralized, gesturally bold focal point. rather, it has a 3 focal points, the most obvious being the large rock in the upper central portion, with secondary focal points on the lower right & left. the sensation it triggers is still one of motion,  but it's more like the kind of motion you might experience if you wer hovering a few feet above the creek, with it's rushing spring runoff and broken branches flying about.


                                                  sangres with purple clouds hanging on the north wall in the house

sangres with purple clouds at 1pm the painting is in oil on linen and measures 12x48"

1pm: i think i'll leave this one for a day & see how i feel. right now, i think it's resolved. so i'm moving on to try & resolve motion 21, which i've been working on for a while now.


noon: a system is moving through the valley yesterday & today bring some snow, albeit light, & colder temperatures. i am continuing work on sangres with purple clouds, moving closer to resolution. this is a delicately balanced composition, & every flick of my fan brushes, which is what i'm mostly using on this one, contributes to the illusion of the mountain, with it's piñon pines, rugged rocks & traces of recent snowfall. as i have mentioned before, i'm drawing some of my inspiration form the 19th c. plein air painters, largely italian & french, who left many of their small plein air sketches in an "unfinished" state because they knew they couldn't count on the same weather & lighting conditions the next day if they returned the following day.

this remarkable study is by french painter gilles-françois-joseph, 1798-1842, the cascade at tivoli, painted about 1824-9. it measures 56.2x39.6cm (22x15 3/4") and was painted in oil on paper laid on canvas. notice how, in my estimation, the unpainted areas on the lower portion actually enrich the composition, helping to make my point: that many of these plein air painters loved leaving these unpainted areas. they were aware that these were finished, complete paintings which, during that time period, were considered unfinished sketches.