I had all week off work, so spent it with a group of long-time friends at Alta Lake, in the Sierras. Unfortunately, the fires continue across the state, including two near the lake. The smoke was particularly heavy in the mornings, which is when I painted this.

To make the most of it, painting a smoke-filled landscape provides ideal conditions for practicing aerial perspective, the ability to represent distance in the 2-dimensional world of the canvas. Basically, that effect is achieved by graying out color, making in more blue, and brining values closer together. The bend in this lake is only about 200 yards, but it looks much further due to the heavy smoke. I also warmed the sky a bit to play off the blues, give the feeling of distant fire, and to have an area of warmth to balance the lower right ground, which was in full sun.

Smoke on Alta Lake – Oil on Linen – 8×10″

Want to see more paintings done during wildfires? Check out Camille Przewodek’s website in the “new” section (scroll to bottom). If you have some, add comments with links to your own images.


9 thoughts on “Painting a smoke-filled landscape

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