|This is a pretty big
sized painting.....52" x 72"
When I stood in front of that big,
empty canvas for the first time, I nearly choked.....” how in the world
am I going to pull this off?.....There is just no way I can ever create
the overwhelming feeling of space and solitude that you feel when you
are actually standing on the edge of the North Rim. And then on a
two-dimensional surface!. I tell myself “it’s just a hole in the
ground....keep the background vague and in saturated purple values, the
foreground razor sharp....and I’ve got it licked.....”
I start by giving the canvas a
wash, or tone, of a warm ‘reddish’ color, heavily diluted with
turpentine. (I use a big brush or cotton rag for this.) You can clearly
still see the background color in this step. If I need to start painting
right away, I use a hair blower to speed up the drying process. The
reason for giving the canvas a “tone” first, is that the lighter colors
will not show up on a white canvas. This first step shows, (what looks
like a lot of scribbling)....that I am placing the structures of the
rock formations and determining the horizon line. This is a very intense
moment, and in most cases this will determine the “make or the brake” of
the painting. I don’t like to correct a composition once I have started.
Either it works from the start or it will forever work against you.....