As per previous posts, I’m working on some paintings based on my reference photos and sketches from Rocky Mountain National Park. I hope these are helpful. I should probably take more photos in between stages, but here’s at least three.

Here’s the drawing. I focus on general shapes and identify the darkest area of the painting. For these underpainting darks, I mix Sap Green and Alizarin Crimson until I get a neutral between the two, then I mix a little “California Blue” (a custom mixture of Phalo Blue and Garbazole Violet, a wonderful really dark blue when Ultramarine is not dark enough…BTW, I got this mixture from Brigitte Curt, who in turn got it from Ovanes Berberian).


Here’s the underpainting. I use a medium (again Ovanes Berberian‘s, 40% linseed oil and remaining Damar Varnish and Gum Turpentine). I focus on bright color underpainting, varying warm and cool. I don’t focus on values, which is difficult to do.


And, here’s the final painting. I wonder if the water is too garish/saturated?  Perhaps I should neutralize these blues?  What do you think?
Rocky Mountain Stream

Rocky Mountain Stream – Oil on Linen – 11×14

4 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain Stream Demo

  1. Hi Ed, I have been enjoying your blog. Congrats on the Estes Park painting. I do think this water is a little bright. 🙂 Maybe nearer the sky color with a little green reflection in the shadow on the left as you look on the computer.

    Nice painting,


  2. Hi Ed… Thanks for the demo and info!

    I must say that my immidiate thought was that the water was too intens -but the second reaction was that of looking again… thinking that in real one can get surprised like that.. so I saw it as a sort of experiment and thought it was a nice surprising element, making f.ex. the mountain look further away.
    Now that I look at it longer I wonder whether making some of the vegetation directly around the water somwhat more saturated/contrasting would be a good idea. If the light is so powerfull as the water suggest to me, maybe it does reflect some more on the vegetation as well…??

  3. Hey Ed,

    I would agree with you that the water is over-saturated. As a very strong note, it seems out of accord with the more subtle color scheme of the rest of the painting. If I hold my thumb over the water, the light on the first hill seems quite bright, but when I remove it, the water overpowers that light.

    Look forward to seeing the finished piece!

  4. Basically it gives the painting a lift and turns an ordinary (good painting) into
    something better than average – the blue may need to be toned down – but
    only a tiny fraction. There are so many ordinary painting about you have to
    put some life into them to do any good. I am having to face the same problems. I stopped painting for 40 years…..I will probably never catch up.
    Keep up the good work, Malcolm.

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