Plein Air Franklin Mountains


Last Friday I went out with PAPS, our plein air painting group, and we painted from a 5th floor wrap around balcony with lovely views of the downtown and the mountains.  The mountains view is more my “thing”, although I don’t think I really enjoy landscapes all that much, and the thing that clinched it for me was that it was in the SHADE.  Differently than the Friday before where we froze, this last week was mild spring temps with a hot desert sun.

The challenge, or one of many challenges, of plein air is looking at the entire vista around you, and then narrowing in on one aspect of small quadrant of all that’s there.  The mountains here are quite high with a group of houses half way up known as “crazy cat” and then below the town with trees, etc.

I decided to focus on two ridges that appealed to me, and with artistic license moved up the italian cypresses and other shrubs that were much further down so that they would provide a balance for the bottom right corner.  I was also cognizant of points I learned in my first private watercolor lesson earlier that week to vary the shapes, and make them interesting.

These ridges tended to be quite rectangular so I varied their edges and really had fun playing with going in early with dark shadows. Perhaps I could have done more interesting edges. A point that bothers me also is how the diagonal lines seem to all look to merge in one spot.  but in the moment of painting, I didn’t see that potential problem.  What I do like is the color harmony, created because I stuck with 3-4 colors throughout.  Quin gold, quin bt orange, quin bt scarlet, and cerulean for the granulating effect. there may be some ultramarine in there too.

And this Friday is another plein air morning…this time painting IN the rio grande river, which is dry at this time of the year.  Fun!

Thanks for stopping by…


9 thoughts on “Plein Air Franklin Mountains

  1. You did a great job with the blends and washes of the colors.. Great value changes I to have a difficult time to narrow in on the aspect. I use a frame I made from tongue depressors to help narrow in a particular quadrant.


    • Thank you! oh that’s an interesting idea on how to frame it. another plein air artist in my group brings a 5 x 7 cut matboard with opening. I have one of those square windows that can be made rectangular…I just forget to pack it! silly….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: See you at the ADC show? | Rachel Murphree Watercolors

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