Chama River
16 x 20 in.
oil sticks and oil paint
Available at BacArt House

New Mexico rivers are life giving for nature and for my soul. I consider a day painting along a melodic stream to be abundant and nurturing. I especially love to go out on a mild day in the fall when the foliage turns warm oranges and golds. This painting happened on such a day. After driving out of Santa Fe, I headed toward Pecos and found a wonderful scene. The Pecos river was meandering along I-25. Getting out of my car and setting up my French easel began my adventure. Considering my canvas size of 16 x 20 x 1.5 inches deep, the old standby easel worked best. In the high desert finding running water is absolutely the best experience and the sound and smell of the wetness is heavenly. Fall and winter are better than the full foliage of summer and the low angle of the sun makes midday painting more pleasant.

The first layer of my painting is a quick drawing of raw umber Sennelier Oil Stick. I love being able to draw in oil paint without having to lay out a full palette. I then used the Medium Oil Stick to blend and create tones of darks, midtones and lights. This allows me to focus on shapes first and values second. Then I mixed general local colors for the darks, midtones and lights that were close to what I am seeing in nature. I use this experience to study what I am seeing in nature and what colors can balance my color range. In this painting I started with the deep muted greens of the evergreen trees and the golds of the autumn willows. Deep midtones of the blue river with light turquoise sky and blue greys of the river stones.

The outcome of this painting brings to life the experience of one fall day, and that is enough.

My art can be seen by appointment or by chance at BacArt House, 933 Baca Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Anita Louise West
Studio: 933 Baca St
Santa Fe NM 87505
[email protected]