Tuesday, September 25, 2012

09.25.2012 ~ cathedral rock ~ summer clouds

cathedral rock ~ summer clouds ~ oil on canvas ~ 18 x 24 inches ~ by dawn chandler  ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012

The first of four very recent paintings of Philmont's Cathedral Rock and reservoir. (Check back! The other three will be posted here over the course of this week!) Special thanks to Greg Palmer who's lovely photo of Cathedral Rock provided the inspiration for this painting.

As mentioned in an earlier post this spring, I've been commissioned to create a painting for the cover of the next Philmont Staff Association publication: The Life and Times of Jack Rhea, director of Philmont's camping department from 1954 - 1962, and edited and co-written by Bill Cass. 

In his research for the book, Bill learned that Cathedral Rock and the reservoir was Mr. Rhea's favorite view on the Ranch, hence the request for a painting of this view. Much like the way my Baldy painting was used for the cover of the PSA/Cass book on Joe Davis, Carry On, one of my Cathedral Rock paintings will grace the cover of this new book on Jack Rhea.

My first attempt this spring at painting this scene was frustrating, as I discussed in some detail in that earlier post. Mainly I felt that that painting fell flat, due almost entirely to a lack of contrast in the lights and the darks.

This attempt is vastly more satisfying! There's a much better differentiation between light and shadow, such that there's a real sense of the time of day. It's funny though, this painting style feels a little "chunky". What do I mean by that? I'm not even sure...But there's something about the paint handling that's a bit unusual for me. It almost feels like a woodblock print rather than an oil painting. Maybe that's from the halation of warm under-painting emerging around the edges of most of the shapes? Hmm... Not sure.

This scene is pretty lush. In fact, truth be told it really kind of feels more like the Pacific Northwest than the arid Southwest...! Oh well. Sometimes, when the rain gods are smiling, Northern New Mexico and Philmont's Central Country really are this lush; it's a blessing when they are.

Below, some details:


Greg said...


The painting looks great. As a teenager, I painted a few landscapes in oil paints. Or should I say, there are a couple of unfinished oil paintings sitting on a shelf above my head.

Thanks for the mention. We sat at the table eating lunch and I grew to appreciate the view. I can understand why it was Rhea's favorite places.

When I composed the picture I wanted, I complained to myself about the power lines. I liked the composition enough to look past them. Of course the time of day was not great for photography, but the clouds were nice at that time. Sometimes the same old view is enhanced by clouds or a colored sky. It adds a new dimension to what may be a plain blue sky.

Thanks again for the mention.

Dawn Chandler said...

Greg ~

Hooray! I'm glad you found my post here! I'd been meaning to shoot you an email to give you the head's up about how your art inspired another's!

Your photo is truly lovely. Funny, a number of people have responded to this series of paintings and the frustration they'd had of photographing the scene and what to do about the power lines cutting through the composition. One of the cool benefits of being a painter: I can just leave 'em out! :)

Though I made a few slight changes from your photo in the painting, I have you to thank for so much of the success of this painting. I'd love to send you a print of my painting, if you would like. If so, email me your mailing address. My email address is dawn@taosdawn.com


~ Dawn

ps: I know all too well what it's like to have unfinished oil paintings sitting on a shelf.... lol.