Sunday, July 20, 2008

The color of haze

Sound View
9 x 12 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Miki Willa

I finally made time to get back to the studio this week. Since I still have several local monuments to paint, I decided to get the Mt. Rainier painting taken care of. I am not entirely satisfied with it, but I will try and explain my feelings about this Puget Sound icon.
First, some basic information about the mountain. Mt. Rainier is 14,411 feet high, making it the highest mountain in the Cascade Range. It is an active stratovolcano, and it has 26 glaciers. That is the most glaciers on one mountain in the lower 48 states. Parts of it are open year round for hiking and day trips.
When I first moved to the northwest during my college days, in the dark ages, I have been in love with this mountain. Of course, I am not alone in this love fest. It is a part of local lore as well as conversations. "The mountain is out today," is a great weather indicator. The goals of many local residents include climbing the mountain at least once in their lifetime. Many celebrations take place on the mountain, as well as few losses over the years. Going to the mountain for a day trip or a week long camping adventure is a must. Seeing the wildflower meadows in late spring is awe inspiring. The most interesting thing about this mountain is that it appears differently each day and each season.
On a recent trip to the northwest, before moving here, I took several photos of Mt. Rainier from the decks of the Bremerton-Seattle ferry. It looked so big and close in real life. When I got home and looked at the photos, I was disappointed that the sense of proximity and size were completely lost. When I decided to paint it last week, I decided to exaggerate those points. One important point is that the snow cover on the mountain takes on the colors of the sun at each point during the day. Late afternoon and early evening, the reflections are pinks and oranges. I wanted to include that in my interpretation. There is often a haze or low cloud cover masking the base of the mountain and the foothills leading up to it, which adds to the mystique of the mountain, I think. The haze is where I first got into trouble in the painting. I finally went to Daniel Smith's and bought new pastels in the light range, and that helped.
Finally, I am pretty happy about the mountain, but the mid and foreground need something. Any suggestions would be received well.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Great painting(s). I love the mountain and fog, the water and middle ground are great work. That being said, the relationship of the foreground-middle ground to the background-sky is area to consider. A suggestion to stregthen the unity of these elements would be to decrease the value of the water and adjust the land mass values. It may not take a lot but by adjusting to slightly lighter value you might be able create a more transparent relationship to these lovely areas within the painting. Very keen and adroitly executed, brava