I decided to take advantage of our good weather to go plein air painting. I couldn’t decide between Pauley Falls (near Downieville) or Love Falls (located north of Sierra City) and then I got to thinking that the river would be rushing with all our rains and the falls would be nothing but pure white rapids. I wanted to have some dimension to my paintings. Love Falls is actually on the PCT and I figured that it probably would be too much for me to trek out more than a half mile in snow. I decided to find a spot on the river. This area is the spot I painted about a couple of months ago and it is located near Fiddle Creek campground in the Indian Valley Outpost area in Sierra County. I was amazed in how much the river was up and roaring.
Another photo of the area but a bit downstream. The colors of the Yuba is unique, I can usually pick out pictures of the Yuba just by the colors.
The lighting today was amazing and that beautiful green yellow color on that rock drove me batty. Trying to capture the subtleties of color and the excitement of the rapids was mind boggling. I now realize that my cherished fall/winter lighting is moving towards spring. This particular spot I can easily get here almost as the sun rises because at 8:30ish it was in full sun. Another day for another painting.
My painting. I struggled a bit, of course, every painting session is different. Today I had to decipher the unique colors, lighting, the fast evolving scene and keeping perched on my rock without tumbling into the river. I get so involved in painting that often I forget to drink or exactly where or what I am standing on.
This scene is what I painted next. I wasn’t happy with my original photos of this area so I have this one to work from. It doesn’t show my entire scene but it will be good enough if I want to use it for a reference photo if I want to finish up my painting. Not all of my plein airs do I keep or finish. Some are scrubbed down and the paper is re-used or I set it aside and re-evaluate it later if… I want to continue on with it. Often I will keep them just so I can base another painting on it. Some artists don’t consider plein air paintings to be worthy to be framed. I differ in that I feel if it works, it works and I don’t want to underestimate the quality or importance of a plein air. They exude a fresh eye and liveliness that you can’t find in a studio piece.
My second painting. I see that basically it looks undone and it lacks a good focal point. To me it is “all over the place” and doesn’t quite hit the mark. I might finish it or scrub it back down. That area in the back was so dark and it was difficult to see the elements. By the time I finished, the sun was hitting that area and it lacked interest. I love contrasts. As I was packing up, a piece of hardware on my easel broke and now I am pressed into the decision to buy a better and lighter set-up. I knew it was coming and now I have to move onto my desire to lighten up. I simply can’t patch this up because I can’t keep using bungee cords to keep my pastels in the box. They are too expensive. Anyway it is time to move onto something better. Thank you for coming along on another painting day with me.