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  • Writer's pictureDale Jackson

Painting Grizzly Falls - Block-In, Part 2

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

In this next phase, I began blocking in my painting.

I'm using these pigments: (from left to right on my palette shown below:

Viridian, Cobalt Teal, Phthalo Turquoise, French Ultramarine, Dioxazine Purple, Quinacridone Magenta, Cadmium Deep Red, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, and Burnt Umber.

Starting with the sky at the top of the painting, I will be blocking it in with a Rosemary & Co 1" Dagger. Also I have a bit of Liquin Original in the pot.

The vantage point of this painting is looking up the 80 ft. water fall, and since there isn't much sky to show in this painting, as it focuses mostly on the rock and trees at the top, I won't spend a whole lot of time on the sky but will go ahead and not only block it in but finish it. I am using a mixture of Cobalt Teal, Titanium White, with a touch of Phthalo Turquoise and a hint of Dioxazine Purple. The Dioxazine Purple will totally take over the other hues, so I have to just use a tiny touch of it, which goes a long way.

The sky really isn't just merely digging into the top of the cliff as it appears in the photo below, but there are trees at the ridge line at the top of this cliff and I wanted the sky to show through the leaves up there, so I'm bringing down the sky to fill areas where I know the trees will mostly dominate that area.

I then begin working on the rocky structure of the cliff from top to bottom. The first hues I put down are the mixtures of red and tan on the cliff face on the left side of the painting.

I'm keeping the rock structure in mind, and building out the bulges of the rock. I'm using a mixture of Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White as well as a touch of Dioxazine Purple.

I'm also blocking in the wet rock that is near the waterfall. The wetness of the rock reflects parts of the sky above, so it has a bluish tint to it. I'm using a mixture similar to the sky but grayer in tone because it is not a pure sky color. I also started to block in the crevices and cracks in the wall, but I'm only concentrating on the big ones in this blocking-in phase. I will deepen these tones further as I get into the detail phase of the painting.

Developing wet rocky areas with the blue-gray mixtures.

You can see the red rock on the left of the painting but then just right of the waterfall, you can still see the burnt umber underpainting. I will be blocking this in in part 2 of my block-in phase. I also started to block in the basic structure of the white water cascading down the cliff face, using very generic strokes. After heavier rain falls, and after a large snow melt, Grizzle Falls can be quite extraordinary to see up close. I'm capturing Grizzle Falls during a time of drought (around mid 2000s). You can tell that the falls were wider at some point (most likely due to passing storms) before I photographed it because there is wet rock on each side. I really loved examining the rocky structure of the cliff, contrasted by the white water cascading downward and dividing up into sharp, distinct angles on it's way down the cliff.

I started to block in the mossy areas and a few areas that indicate other vegetation.

I will really start to develop the tendrils of water cascading off of these levels that are down the cliff face. I will be doing that in the detail phase. For now, I am merely blocking in the water to indicate where it will be going.

Blocking in the cascading water down the cliff face. I loved the sharp angles that the water is going in contrast to the vertical flow over the top of the cliff.

Blocking in more of the green mossy areas to indicate where I will want that development to be. These are areas on the cliff that are horizontal areas where water tends to pool and are also shaded, so the water isn't evaporating as quickly as the sunny areas, so the moss and other vegetation tends to grow better there.

In the next post, I will continue my block in of the rocks, then trees and then I will start to begin the detail phase which is the longest phase.

Happy painting everyone!

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