International Artist Magazine Challenge No. 100


Aug. 2017 edition

Each contest finalist receives an Award Certificate and a one-year subscription to International Artist magazine PLUS having their work seen worldwide by international galleries looking for new talent.

My Inspiration
Western Colorado is moose country and I was on a mission in the fall of 2015 to find a regal bull moose to use in future paintings. I sat still in the tall reeds for over five hours waiting, watching. As the sun began to set behind the pines backlighting the autumn willows, a stunning array of brilliant yellows, oranges, pinks and chartreuse was created. I forgot about the moose and began shooting the scene with my camera. The crystal-clear stream mirrored the dramatic hues yet displayed the dark shallow streambed below. All too soon the mosquitos came out, there was a decided chill in the air, and the dramatic warm colors

Colorado, USA “Solitude”, oil, 18 x 14″ (46 x 36 cm)

had suddenly turned to cool dark greens and blue-grays.

My Design Strategy
In the studio I cropped a portion of the photographic image that best represented my experience. The composition was organized using the rule of thirds. Brilliant white willows on the left became the secondary focal point leading to the larger, intense “hot” hues of willows serving as the primary focal point. Visual flow from top left to right, down and around the scene in a circular, clockwise fashion, accentuated movement and life.

Visual rhythm slowed, arrested and was cradled by pines on the right then sped downward with shadows, connecting to foreground rushes, then speeding left along diagonal creek banks, up pine reflections, reaching the far bank and secondary and primary focal points again. The stationary cool gray creek boulders provided crucial symmetry.

My Working Process
I sketched an outline onto graph paper, identified the primary focal point with a circle, moved or eliminated trees and boulders, allowed a bit of sky to peek in

and set the diagonals of the creek bed and submerged tree trunks. Sketching a linear outline onto my oil primed linen canvas, I began glazing and scumbling the scene with multiple thin layers of paint. So excited was I by the mood and scenic beauty of the place, I gave in to nearly completing the focal areas of brilliant willows and the far bank before I’d blocked in the entire composition. Now it just became and issue of contrasting brilliant warm with subdued cool tones, textured vegetation with smooth, glassy stream and light with dense areas.

Send in your comments. I’d love to hear from you!