Monday, January 5, 2009

Painted Desert Sunset — NFS



I recently had a friend commission me to paint a landscape that serves as a permanent warm memory of evening hikes in the New Mexican desert (and a bright accent for some earth toned walls). It was originally intended as a Christmas gift, but unfortunately- the final is STILL drying on my easel! Instead, a small color study I made was given as a promissory place holder. 

This was a fun project to do, because it involved a little creativity and imagination to get it done. The original photo reference was shot at noon (last image), and my friend was looking for more of a sunset scenario/with the color scheme leaning heavily towards the warm reds and yellows of dusk. He also wanted to include some southwestern flora in the foreground (aside from the desert scrub pine), like the beautiful golden Chamisa. Last- he also wanted the mountains to be more prominent on the horizon. 

Before starting the larger final painting (20" x 16"), I made a smaller study (7" x 5") to figure out a color scheme and come up with some ideas for the foreground flora (middle image). The first image above, is the final painting. With the last rays of sun just brushing the top of a chamisa, the desert shimmers like a golden jewel. Cool colors in the foreground create depth and push your eye out to the sun-basked mountains on the horizon. It was fun for me to watch this painting evolve from a photo and some simple verbal direction, into a totally different scene.

3 comments:

Sheila said...

Wow.... can you lend me your kalidescopic eye for an hour so I can see the world in such a vibrant and exciting image? Wow...

r garriott said...

Wow-- that's quite a transistion from photo to painting! I think you pulled it off, I really do. I can see that your client would be pleased.

In your honor I pulled out and blog posted a few of my old commissions (a couple from my ABQ days-- don't know if you ever go to 'town' but one is from down by the University, if it's still there).

Tom Pohlman said...

Sheila- You can see why I have never needed to experiment with peyote! Ha ha
Thank you for the compliment.

R- You are too kind :>) I'll be right over to check it out! I have been down Central about a dozen times in the last month or two with camera a'blazin'. If the place is still there, I will know it! UNM, Nob Hill, and anything that caught my eye to the east and west of that area is on my hard drive.