Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lone Horse Rider - Garden of the Gods Park

This is for Studio Atelier Sept 2010 challenge - Garden of the Gods Park, Colorado Spring. It's oil on 10x12" canvas board.

When I saw this reference photo at Studio Atelier (ref photo), it reminded me so much of the American southwest paintings by the great Edgar Payne, whose book the Composition of Outdoor Painting I had been reading this summer. So I decided I had to do this challenge.

I did some research on Edgar Payne's painting and his palette. Some indicated his palette included the following: "Hookers green, cadmium yellow light, cadmium red light, van Dyke brown, alizarin crimson, Indian red (red orchre), Indian yellow, Paynes gray, ultramarine blue, and vermilion". I had most of the color except for Indian red and hooders green. I found on the internet that hookers green was a combination of prussian blue and gamdoge (some kind of mustard yellow), so I figured I could fake this one with what I had (prussian blue and yellow orchre). I bought a tube of Indian red from the store, along with terra rosa, which I thought was a lighter and less intense version of Indian red.

I did the sky and clouds first. To show the darker side of the clouds, I used Paynes gray and ultramarine violet, plus white. The highlight of the cloud is white with lemon yellow, and of course, a lot of white and a lot of blending.

The rocks were mostly Indian red, and shifted to terra rosa when I thought Indian red was too intense. The shadow part would be these color mixed with ultramarine blue, and Paynes gray here and there. There's light reflection from the right hand side mountain onto the middle mountain. I cranked up the color temperature by adding in vermilion to the middle mountain.

Finally, I added in a lone horse rider on the street, instead of all the tourists in the original reference photo. I really like Edgar Payne's style and his paintings, and will definitely do some more down the road if I get the right scenes. Maybe we'll pay a visit to the southwest sometime.


  1. I like the painting you did on this challenge, and I love the detailed description of your colors and technique. It is always so interesting to learn how one artist see's the color and light, and then what they do to express it. Nice touch adding the lone horse rider.

  2. Hi and I had the same idea to add a horse and rider. Please watch for my submission in a few days.
    Nice work by the way.

  3. I like this a lot, Rebecca. You simplified and unified the composition. Please do visit the Southwest sometime. I volunteer to drive visitors to the U.S. there two or three times a year, and it has totally captured my soul and visual imagination. There is nowhere else like on the fact of the earth!