Moonrise, Chama River

I wander around at night sometimes, partially to be out in the wilderness at dawn or twilight, but also because the night itself is so powerful and magical to me. This is overlooking the Chama River as the moon rose early one morning; I was actually heading somewhere else but had to stop. This is another painting ( 3′ x 3′) that I started as an acrylic, and then was able to finish once I started painting in oils.

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Just the beginnings of a sketch, using colored pencils on a prepared panel.
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Starting to put in some values with the water, and acrylic markers for the shadows. The milky way ended up disappearing.
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One of the ten times that I would paint the sky and the reflections…
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Now with the background details begun there is a cartoon, giving a sense of the piece.
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New sky, new water…
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Another new sky…
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Okay, sky is massaged back into place. I just began using oils on the distant hills, making them darker so that I would have to balance everything to that. It’s amazing how much harder this would have been as a watercolor!
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Here, a lot of the painting has been repainted in oils. It’s still a little cartoony, though, and the trees aren’t right and are too dark…
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The trees are participating in the moonlight now, and everything has been touched. Not right yet, but it’s easier to see what to do once one gets closer all around.
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Here’s the final painting. 

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