Started the day by just exploring, no particular destination. After getting a feel for the area, I decided to find a North-facing view with water, so I could paint a combination of shadows and light. I ended up at Alta Lake, a lake accessible through 5 miles of offroad. Before you reach the lake, you drive through an old mining town.

I did this first painting in the morning. I’m pretty happy with this one. I think it conveys a good sense of the morning light.

Alta Lake #2 – Oil on Linen – 10×8 (SOLD)

This was my second effort. I focused on the sky and clouds (a favorite subject), and tried to keep the trees and hills secondary. It surprises me how dark the sky is at this altitude. I used Ultramarine Blue and a little Permanent Rose. The color turned out well, but I had to add too much white, so next time I’ll start with Cobalt Blue with Permanent Rose, since it’s already in about the right value.

Alta Lake #1 – Oil on Linen – 8×10 (AVAILABLE)

After completing these two, I checked the map again and noticed that another lake was nearby. Trout Lake was much more accessible, less than a mile off the main road. When I got there, two painters who allowed me to share their shade. I began this painting with rich washes of transparent color, alternating Sap Green, Ultramarine Deep, and Veridian Green. The top of the highest peak had this wonderful red/orange color, and kept alternating between shadow and light. I waited for the light to put in the color you see. Even though there are reds there, I think it falls back okay. That was a concern. The clouds cast shadows on the trees, which made for a nice separation of values.

Trout Lake – Oil on Linen – 12×16 (AVAILABLE)

Since this is a competition, please offer your opinion of these paintings. Thanks!

16 thoughts on “Telluride Plein Air, Day 2

  1. Painting nr. 1 is definitely a good one in my eyes. The soft mountain colours combined with the lake being enclosed makes it a pleasant and quiet scene to me. It’s good, one could only argue perhaps that it isn’t a revolutionary one.

    Nr. 3 is more surprising, I discovered for example the background mountain rather late. The hard clouds (very white and sharply defined) challenge me to take a stand about them, and after looking some more I like them.
    As I see it on my monitor I perhaps would have liked to see a sharper definition of the different groups of trees.

    … still love the first one though… what a great start!

  2. Like the first painting best so far, composition is strong and the light pattern is great, second one is a bit stiff? too horizonally ? Third one is more better, but there is a strong zig zag thing going on with the tree line that I find distracting. Not having seen this location, maybe that is what it really looks like, soften the edges. dunno. I enjoy your painting notes. Good Luck!

  3. mark bridges says:

    Morning. I think all three are very good. How would you feel about placing some snow behind the right trees in Alta #2 ? I was looking at Ovanes paintings and it seemed that he grayed the colors as he moved away from the center of interest. Paint with passion and let your intelect(sp) put in the highlights.


  4. I think #1 is a great painting – you really captured the feeling of the place, and the brushwork and color is fantastic!!

    I’ve painted the exact same shoreline and trees that show up in painting #2 – funny how we can all interpret a place differently, but still capture the feeling of it.

  5. Wow! You don’t fool around on these gigs, do you!? Three in one day!

    At the risk of speaking out of turn, 1 and 3 are the best two. If you are open to a consideration, wouldn’t darkening the sky more in #1 shift the eye down to the lighter area and the lake? (which is gorgeous, btw!). Similarly, on #3, if the shore value was in shadow with the dark trees, wouldn’t that push the eye toward that beautiful, perfectly located red mountain peak?

    Just my thoughts. Great stuff! Can’t wait to see the next day’s stuff!

  6. Hi Ed,
    I vote for painting #1…wow!!!! You really nailed to light on the mountain. I like #3 also…but it seems like the trees are leading me off the canvas on the lower left…maybe it’s just the photo crop…maybe soften edge a little?
    You know I’m a big fan…Good Luck!!!
    p.s. Your paintings from Ovanes Workshop are fantastic!

  7. What a magnificent place to be painting in! All three are tantalizing but my favorite is #1 because I like the wonderful variation of colors and light. The warm peachy grays opposed to the cool bluish shadows in the snow are beautiful. RIGHT ON! Very intimate. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  8. Thanks for sharing your wonderful paintings. I can almost smell the mountain air in the painting “alta lake # 1.” the clouds in your painting seem to slowly drift across the the dark blue sky…wonderful….

  9. I like the first one. The framing of it makes the mountains look huge, like they really are. Good comp.

    The third one is appealing with all the color. I’m drawn in and want to peek over the trees into the canyon.


  10. Wow, thanks everyone for such wonderful critiques! Looks like number 1 in this group wins, which is my favorite as well. Just now I’d painted it larger. Maybe I’ll go back to Alta Lakes and paint another version today. Cheers!

  11. First let me say I have the deepest respect for outdoor paitning of landscapes, have not tried much myself and it is much more easy to sit here afterwards and think this should be so and this so.

    My first impression is they are exiting and interesting
    First I say is related to what I see on my screen, see it real life could be quite different.

    Nr 1 I find it a little messy. The lake looks so discrete, does it deserve that ?
    and the forground is so yellow and lighting and calls for a lot of attention – is that important?

    Nr 2 is for me a pleasant picture, like the coolness freshness and the sense of optimism, there is not so much (as I see it ) happening in the dark tree line, but in a way it is good, the sky is the star here so why bother so much about the trees. It has a clear O composition and in all its simplicity it works quite well – and the sky is further emphazied by the nice reflection in the water.

    Nr 3 is a heavy competitor, but I find the darkness of the trees too dark and the same problem as with nr 1 the strong yellow in the foreground calls for a lot of attention.

    So I vote for nr 2, Thanks, fun to give an opinion, and wish all the best with your work.

  12. Deb Sessel says:

    Ed….well here I am in Estes and wishing I could be at your side watching you paint. I haven’t yet opened up my new OPENM box….but its ready for this week (tough with three kids and a husband!!)

    I love Alta Lake #1. The color seems right on and the sky up here in the high country is an amazing blue that you never will forget. It looks right on in your piece. I love the low horizon line and the open feeling of the sky. The dard pines are acurate and artistically places. I would take a closer look at the reflections in the lakes and maybe take away a bit of the pattern so as not to draw too much attention to the detail. The overall clarity of the lake should be more the focus.

    I love your work. I envy your opportunity. I cherish your experience. I value your opinions. I anticipate your new entries. I thank you for your time.


  13. Hi Deb! Thanks so much for your feedback.

    That’s great, you’re in Estes Park. I do have a few paintings left over from last year’s show in “Earthwood Collections” on the main street. Also, since you’re painting there, be sure to check out Moraine Park–my favorite area in the Rocky National Mountain Park. Wonderful area. Can’t wait to see what you do! Please send me images or post on your site.


  14. Thanks, Mary. I sold the first one in the gala event. I think the bottom one may sell today. Lots of people interested, but sales in general for the entire group of artists here yesterday was terrible (July 3rd). It was a weekday of course, so not a lot of people out. Today should be better (4th).

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