This painting is based on Caineville Butte in southern Utah a little east of Capitol Reef along state Highway 24 east of Capitol Reef National Park. I enjoy the badlands there and the way the shapes and coloration change at the ends of the days. I have been working on a number of landscape based paintings in a fairly loose, palette knife based technique. At the same time, though I am taking liberty from the constraints of close adherence to a photographic likeness, I am trying to use visual devices of temperature, edge and contrast to attempt to create cues suggestive of actual visual experience while being untrue to life with hues, values and detail. I am trying to create a tension between a painterly, conspicuously artificial, artifactual surface and a depiction that can create moments of illusionistic representation. I get a simple, essentially visual pleasure from trying to make images that achieve that sort of oscillation or duality in perception.
The surface was slowly built up, starting with a fairly careful line drawing laid out with a dark permanent marker on a white gessoed surface. Using a sharpie or magic marker in the drawing allows me to see the drawing up through the first semi-transparent layer of paint laying in the dark and light, warm and cool areas of the paintings with a palette of thinned French Ultramarine, Raw Umber and Titanium White. After that I built up on the skeletal underpainting with a palette of more or less opaque saturated colors like Cadmium Lemon, Dioxazine Violet, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue and some desaturated earth colors like Caput Mortuum Violet and Terra Rosa. After that I went through a number of iterations, not very premeditatively, but just deciding at different points I wanted more or less departure from natural color. In the end I’ve settled on trying to build the contrast at the boundaries of dark and light areas and then putting a unifying glaze of cool colors (French Ultramarine and Cobalt Violet) in the relatively cooler areas) and a unifying glaze of warm very dilute Cadmium Red in the warm areas.