Napa River Flats

Back in February, I had the opportunity to do this painting from a photo looking out over the Napa River flats.  What was so striking to me was just how much of a burnt orange that section of grassland/ wetland was.  There are a few more I'd like to do, one of which had this startlingly yellow groundplane.  Some beautiful stuff you wouldn't expect to see.  I couldn't dream it up. 

On this one, I painted in the sky, let it dry, and then painted the distant mountain.  Next came the orange fields (muted Burnt Sienna), where I washed in, wet into wet, the blue-green plants in the foreground (Viridian that's been muted).  On top, for the third layer, came the shadows and modeling on the distant mountain, the shrubs and trees in the distance, and all of the powerlines and towers.  For the distant power lines, I mixed Holbein's Lavender, which has white in it, with some Burnt Sienna, to create a soft, neutral, opaque grey.  This allowed me to put some distance on the far away power lines. 

Towards the end, I added a bit of texture to the mid-ground with the strokes of Brunt Sienna and the bits of very dark grass in the foreground (Neutral Tint with Viridian), to separate the distances.  Finally, the clouds weren't quite dark enough, so I turned the painting upside down, pre-wet the portion of the sky closest to the horizon, and very softly added in a grey wash to darken the foreground clouds, creating that area of light along the horizon.  It also provided the additional benefit of "softening" the upper half of the telephone pole-- it was a foggy day, it this really helped capture it.  This one was fun, and I'll probably paint it again larger.

All in all, perhaps an hour to an hour and a half, start to finish, although I also spend time cropping and editing my photos to get the composition right.  1/4 sheet.  11" x 15".  For those interested, I'll have the the image in my gallery for sale.