Friday, June 22, 2012

Rio Laja Plein Air unfinished

14x18 ins. oil on panel

and the photo below

The photo tends to make this place look a little flat. It's really quite an inspiring location. You're up on this limestone bluff overlooking the river valley. We were hoping the clouds would roll our way later in the afternoon and sure nuf they did. Their shadows creeping across the terrain were so nice and added a lot of depth. It's an unusual location - the river valley has a lot of limestone but the highlands are all extinct volcanoes. I started this a couple of weeks ago just after the corn was planted in the fields below. We've since been doused with some rain, so it's going to look completely different in short order. We'll have to go back and squeeze out more green  this time - any takers? On second thought to get there you have to ford the Laja. It was bone dry last time ............... better take a ride up there and check first.


  1. If your going I'll tag along. I need to get in some more landscape work.

  2. Great! - we'll organize a trip up there soon. It looks like it's about to rain again here, doesn't it. I'll go up there in a day or two to check on the river. A foot or even two would be O.K. but any more and we might have to swim.

  3. Your panels have a texture to them. What are you using as a medium?

  4. I prime the panels with regular Gesso -acrylic or otherwise - then put a rough coat of MEDIUM MOULDING PASTE (el Patos got it)on top. I keep the brush strokes as thick and random as possible. It's a bit transparent this stuff, so I cover it again when it's dry with another coat of Gesso, so the surface is bright white.
    I used to do this a long, long time ago but I just applied thick Gesso. The paste works better. You can "dry brush" on top and you end up with wonderful, suggestive effects. I didn't use this technique for about 40 years but I like David Curtis quite a lot - he uses it in his plein air work - so I re-visited it last year and was blown away with it's potential. It's maybe a bit tedious if you take a too tentative approach but if you try to keep it loose it works great. It's almost like watercolor, where random effects happen. You can quickly evaluate and retain the suggestion or take another swipe. I'm finding this approach adds to the excitement of the process - it's full of surprises and entertaining - you just have to be a little objective as it is happening. I hope this makes sense - if not we'll talk some more.