Shade to Light

Fine art painted by Dan Dollahon

9:12 AM

Colorado Paintings

Posted by Dan Dollahon

Well, we just got back from our semi-annual Colorado vacation. It's a great getaway both from the demands of work and the oppressive Houston heat. This year I was able to do some plein air painting. Something that I had not done before but have wanted to for some time. Usually I take pictures that I use for references back in the studio or I just bask in the beauty that is Ouray, Colorado, storing up mental and spiritual images for later use.

The first painting I did was of a grove of Aspens that were just starting to turn their fall color. I set up my easel and started to paint, soon realizing one of the fundamental difficulties with painting outside on site - the lighting quickly shifts. To offset this problem I decided that I just had to imprint in my mind the lighting that first caught my eye and go with it. I also made the decision to edit and even add to the scene that was before me, all the while holding on to my original inspiration. Here is a photo of the scene and the painting it inspired:

Here is another photo and painting in the same area as the Aspen grove. I liked the little red tree so much, I included it in the first painting.

And finally, my "hay rolls" painting and one of the photos I took of the scene. As we were driving to Telluride I saw several fields of hay bales and something about them appealed to me. I think they look surreal against the backdrop of sprawling vacant fields. The problem is getting close enough to them to paint as they are on private property. There was one field in particular that we saw on the way and I made a mental note to take pictures of it on the way back. Driving back we stopped at the spot and a tractor was already picking up the bales. I jumped out and quickly snapped several pictures. Further along the sky was starting to change as a storm started to build in the distance. I liked the look of the transition so I photographed it. Later on, back at the Ouray house, I put aspects of the different scenes together into one painting.


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H said...

Dan,if I may,give you a suggestion as to what I think this painting is missing?I looked at the photo 1st and thought it was your painting,then I scrolled down to see the actual painting.What I'd like to see in your rendition is the darker shadows on the fronts of the hay bales and in the tree line.The fence would also benifit from being "punched-up".
I know,I'm always the critic.

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