Sunday, June 20, 2010


Our latest drive through Grand Teton National Park was on a threatening-to-rain day.  The jagged peaks of the mountains were veiled by dark clouds.  Then there were moments when the overcast would thin out enough to send light across the valley.  Even though I have an abundance of photos of the Tetons, I still took more. 

With these pictures as reference, and adding what I’ve seen at other times, I drew a value sketch for a watercolor.

I transferred the sketch to a sheet of Arches 140-lb. cold-pressed paper.  Using an 18x12 inch format I masked out the edges of the mountains to preserve the snow fields and tree edges. Then I layed down initial washes for the clouds and foreground.

After the initial washes were dry I dropped in a few darker colors.

Moving from background to foreground I added details to the mountains.

The trees backlit by the sun breaking through were next.  I love trees, but they have so many details.  The important thing is knowing how much to leave out. I like to think of Antoine deSaint Exupry’s quote, “Perfection is finally attained, Not when there is no longer anything to add—But when there is no longer anything to be taken away.”  
I have a long way to go to perfection.

The valley floor of Jackson Hole is mostly covered with sage brush where big animals like buffalo and elk browse. The leaves of the brush have a grey-blue tint that added nicely to the color scheme.

So there it is; TETONS AND SAGE, a souvenir of an enjoyable afternoon in one of my favorite places. 
Driving over the pass through a downpour was another story.

Now if you've hung in here this long I have a GIVEAWAY!  
A long time ago I sold a little watercolor named West Wind to a friend (my mom wasn't there to buy my stuff that day) at a street fair.  
Recently my friend bought a home in another state and had to downsize possessions. She returned the little painting so now I'm giving away.  It is 4.5X6.5 inches in an 8X10 matt. I won't include the frame since it would be difficult to ship.  

 Leave a message on this post and/or any of my new posts between now and Friday afternoon MDT June 25, 2010. ONE entry per post.  You must have a blog to enter. I will notify the winner on Saturday. I'll need an email address then.


Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi There, Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you come back often. I am enjoying yours.. You live in a fabulous area of the country... I'm sure I'd NEVER get too many pictures of the Grand Tetons... Beautiful pictures!!!!


Anonymous said...

I found this fascinating - how you gradually built up the painting - I am so envious of your talent!!

Linda Sue said...

Oh YOU! You make it sound like One-two-three- you are so talented! watercolour is the most difficult of media! Mistakes are not allowed- that is why I could never do it! Here is my MENTION!On a horse in the wind- the incessant wind...WANT!
I am still gone but had to pop in on you...and the word verification is butzings! Thought you could use one...

Amsterdam Holidays said...

A good blog, with some fascinating paintings. Hats off to you :)

Carla said...

I've always, always admired folks who can paint what they see. I can't draw stick figures, let alone paint them. Your work is beautiful!

DayPhoto said...

You're paintings are just like looking outside a picture window.



Butternut Squash said...

Wow, thanks for showing us how its done. Absolutely beautiful.

Anairam said...

Yes, you make it sound so easy! It looks amazing - the sky, clouds and light - beautiful ...
Ohhh! I am definitely entering your competition, Leenie - windmills are my best! In Afrikaans there is a difference between a "windmeul" (the kind used for grinding wheat)and a "windpomp" (for extracting water from underground by pumping). Are their different words in English, I wonder? I only know "windmill" ...

Kilauea Poetry said...

This is gorgeous..I'm going to remember that quote come time to decorate my Christmas tree! (Lol). What a majestic scene you've captured so well! An excellent job Leenie!

Anonymous said...

how lovely! i wish i could paint!

BB said...

Gosh I love that painting - could almost be in Oz. Add me to the contenders!!!!