October 7th, 2015
One of the things I love about northern Utah is the variety in the landscape within a relatively small geographical area. One day I can be painting in the mountains, the next the desert, then rural farmland and even in marshland, the subject of this blog post. There is a lot of marshland along the eastern shores of the Great Salt Lake, in particular near Farmington Bay. This area is managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to provide a variety of habitats for all kinds of migratory birds. The Great Salt Lake is an important stop for migrating birds, it's a place where they can rest up and nourish themselves to prepare for the next leg of the trip. It's also a good place for a landscape artist to nourish himself visually since it's an area not like many others. I did two paintings on my autumn day trip to Farmington Bay, the first was this 8X10 with a view of one of the canals of water that connects two ponds and the Oquirrh mountains in the distance. I used a palette knife underpainting to create texture and finished up with some brushwork for the reeds and other details.
After that painting I had my lunch then did a lot of exploring and then decided to get one more small painting in before the sun set.
October 3rd, 2015
Old abandoned trucks rusting into the ground dot the western desert landscape, this is one of my interpretations of such a scene. I've seen many similar scenes in my exploration of rural northern Utah. I took my reference photo for this painting in a salvage yard outside a small, rural town. The truck in the photo was green, I made it orange for the painting because I wanted to have a an intense blue desert sky, having the truck orange would only make that blue seem more intense. I used a palette knife underpainting for this, that's just the mood I was in. Even when using a brush I tried to keep the paint thick using heavy gel medium. It's a challenge to paint a man made object loosely but I enjoy it.
October 1st, 2015
One of my favorite places to just hang out and just think, enjoy nature or contemplate life is sitting next to a creek. The roar of the rushing water has a way of focusing your mind. Watching the repeating patterns in the falling water, how it bounces over a rock, creates ripples in a small pool or foams when forced to change direction is almost hypnotic. The colors are beautiful too, the warm oranges in the rocks contrasting against the bright green mosses and the subtle blue-green in the water itself. Of course I can't resist taking the opportunity to paint mountain creeks, as I did one day this summer up in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch mountains in northern Utah just a short distance from Salt Lake City. I did two paintings that day.
David King Studio
October 1st, 2015
One of my best days of plein air painting ever is when I set up early on a Sunday morning in spring in Big Cottonwood Canyon at the bottom of Cardiff Fork. Big Cottonwood Canyon is in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah a short distance from Salt Lake City. There was a bit of a chill in the air at first but it soon warmed up. The morning light was strong and brought out the brilliance of the spring greens in the evergreens and the aspens, not to mention the grasses. I first set up looking out at a hiking trail across a depression from me. From my position the path looked almost vertical, it made for an interesting nearly abstract composition. I had to break out the pthalo blue to get greens saturated enough to match what I saw.
For my second painting of the morning all I had to do was move my gear about ten feet to the west and turn ninety degrees for a more intimate view of the mountain landscape. This time I was able to include the wildflowers which were just starting to come in.
October 1st, 2015
This is the second plein air (outdoor) painting I did in the workshop with Shanna Kunz earlier this year. This was in the same area as "Spring Foliage" just down the street from the entrance to the Jefferson-Hunt campground in the Ogden Valley near Huntsville, Utah. What appealed to me about this scene is the large flat plane of the meadow contrasting with the more vertical plane of the big tree in the background, well that and the fact it was mostly green and I like green. It was unusually hot for a late June day, my umbrella not only kept my acrylic paint in the shade and workable it kept me from melting.
October 1st, 2015
Black Rock is a rock formation on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah near the marina. I've often traveled to this spot even though the road for the last half mile or so is not maintained and rather rough on my non off-road vehicle. The land around Black Rock allows for a perfect view of Antelope Island across the water. I once sketched this view a couple years ago in pen and watercolor, earlier this year while on vacation I decided to go paint it. I decided it was a good subject for the palette knife and tried to lay the paint on as thick as I could. Being near the marina meant there was a good likelihood I'd be able to get a sailboat into the painting, and I did. All and all it was a very pleasant morning spent on the shore of the Great Salt Lake.
September 26th, 2015
I made this painting during a plein air workshop with Shanna Kunz. We were set up near the Jefferson-Hunt campground in Ogden Valley near Huntsville, Utah. There were just so many things to chose from to paint it was hard to decide where to set up. I decided to keep it simple for my first painting of the day and paint an interesting group of trees and bushes next to the road. Painting this kind of scene is a challenge though. Everything is so green, all you can do is adjust the warmth and coolness and value of the green to differentiate between different plants and shadows and sunlit parts. Many artists don't like green, I'm the opposite, I love it, so while a scene like this is a challenge to paint I always enjoy it. David King Studio
September 25th, 2015
This painting was a challenge I made to myself to attempt to capture a scene with the glow of a sunset. I traveled to the small rural Utah town of West Point near the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. I found my scene at about 6:00, I knew the sun would be down by 8:00, I had to work fast, but working fast is normal when painting "en plein air" or outdoors, I also tend to work small, in this case 8" X 10". By chance I setup to paint next to a valve for an irrigation ditch and was visited twice by a local resident farmer who was tending to the irrigation of her and the neighbor's fields, as usual conversation is usually pleasant with a farmer, or with just about any rural resident. I couldn't talk too long though, the sun was falling fast! The actual scene had a truck and tractor in it as well, but I decided to not to try to put them in for two reasons, one was the time constraints, the other the small size of the panel I was working on. If I ever scale this painting up in the studio I'll most likely add a truck and tractor to it, most likely something older than what was actually there though. I had to remember not to chase the shadows, by the time I finished the painting that foreground field that started fully lit was completely in shadow from the trees across the street. The light became intense and warm just before the sun dipped below the western mountains too, I decided that was something worth pursuing even this late in the game so I glazed yellow ochre in the trees and on the hay shed.
September 24th, 2015
Even exploring suburban areas you sometimes find some cool old stuff, especially if there are still some pockets of farm land or horse property. Such was the case when I was exploring Pleasant Grove, Utah. I happened upon this neat display of huge, fake pumpkins on the bed of an old International truck with a small farm in the background. I couldn't resist making a painting of this scene of course. I removed some of the "suburbia" from the background to give it the clean look of open rural space.