Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fog from Elsewhere, and When



Pastel on Canson paper, ~9 x 16"

This was painted at Sibley Volcanic Preserve, off of Skyline Blvd. in the East Bay Hills about 6 years ago. I periodically paint in this area on the way to work in the morning, as the hills are between my house and my workplace. This region is often right on the cusp of the fog, and so it is hit or miss whether you will find sunshine or a cool, grey mist to paint in. In this case, I hiked out to a spot through fog, but by heading East, I managed to get within a few hundred yards of the edge of the fog that was blanketing the entire Bay. I could see the warm sunlight coming in, as it was slowly burning its way through the mist. The valley below, (which is now being turned into a housing development, btw), was receiving warm light, yet I had to look through quite a bit of mist to see it. In addition, there was more low-lying fog in the region beyond. I call these temporal circumstances 'transition zones', when you are between sunlight and fog. It makes for an interesting mix of atmospherics and warm and grey hues to explore. It doesn't last long in one state, but it is always fun to find yourself in such unique lighting. Worth looking for.

Pastel-wise, I was piling on the pigment, adjusting colors, as the density of the fog shifted, and at the same time, trying to organize the trees and shrubs with actual edges, before everything changed even more. Parts of the image would no longer accept pigment, and there's definitely some bad broccoli in there. That's when it's time to pack up and get to work.

6 comments:

kevin said...

bill! i didn't know you had a blog! this is awesome. beautiful paintings!

i think you took us to paint in this exact same spot if i'm not mistaken? i remember those hills.

Bill Cone said...

Hi Kevin, Good to hear from you. We did paint from a spot that looked at this area, but from a different point of view. Where we painted was about 2 miles to the North, looking South, along the length of the same valley.

Kei Acedera said...

I really admire your work! You can capture atmosphere so well- I'm so inspired.. Its just so wonderful to look at :) may I ask, how long would some of these take?

Bill Cone said...

Hi Kei, I would say these were all 60-90 minutes.
Sometimes you can get most of the image painted in a much shorter period of time, but you might spend additional effort making small adustments, repairing edges, adding secondary elements, etc.

When light is changing, one choice you have to make is where to 'fix' things... creeping shadows, relative contrast, color range, etc. Sometimes the compulsion is to chase the light, which may or may not be a wise choice, as you're likely to be abandoning the speciific qualities of the image that made you choose to paint in the first place.
Risk!

The real truth, that anyone who paints outside can attest to, is that light is ALWAYS changing. It's what keeps you on your toes. But there are circumstances where change is much subtler for a longer period of time, and others, where change is rapid and radical. In periods of rapid, and sometimes unpredictable, change, beautiful light and color can often be found.

Thanks for the kind words, btw.

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Leigh Rust said...

This is so brilliant! You are my idol and being able to go through these works is such a pleasure.

I was wondering if you'd used sanded paper which would give you much more play when it comes to layers in these works. That being said I'm astounded by what you can do on canson