A Cumulus Morning

This morning was perfect: 60 degrees and breezy with warm sunshine and that vivid blue Colorado sky dotted with cumulus clouds. It was worth skipping out of the studio to take it all in before the cold front sets in.

The challenge here was to show the different ridges receding into the distance. (In retrospect I wish I had pushed the atmospheric perspective a little more, or somehow simplified the middle ridge.) The huge difference in tone between the dark Ponderosa trees and bleached dry grass can make value organization very confusing in this kind of landscape.

(It didn’t help that the bands of shadow from the clouds kept moving, alternately throwing different areas into light and shadow.  Nor did it help that the wind blew over my entire easel several times!)


I limited the palette to Natural Sienna, Ultramarine, and Permanent Alizarin crimson, with a tiny bit of Pthalo blue in the deepest part of the sky. Plus whatever muck was on my palette.

Working Big
September Splendor