Local Cliffs — Study I & II

April 15, 2012

About ten minutes from our house is  ‘Cinnamon Ridge’.  These are cliffs with very distinctive geologic caves and ‘hoodoos’ caused by wind erosion.  Though not around at the time (I was but a gleam in my parents’ eye) 50 million years ago, the Kamloops region of British Columbia (from the Native word Tk’emlups–‘where rivers meet’) was the source of great volcanic activity, and formed the seafloor of the ancestral Pacific Ocean.

Not far from Cinnamon Ridge is a loose shale shelf where my friends go to collect fossils.  These fossils indeed prove this area which is so very dry, was once water-covered.

I’ve now done two studies of Cinnamon Ridge (so named because of its rich colour).  The first is a small watercolour sketch about 4″ x 8″


'Cinnamon Ridge' watercolour sketch


The second is a more detailed and focused piece around 8.5″ x 12″.  It has some issues as far as values go (it’s a bit too light and lacking in contrast), as well as a composition issue having to do with the train signal being much too far to the left.


'Cinnamon Ridge' Study II


And here is the photo both studies are based on:


reference photo of Cinnamon Ridge


The final painting must be ready for hanging on May 1st.  So I am now about to do Study III, which will hopefully end up graduating from being a study to being worthy of mat and frame.

Painting is much like cooking.  Too little salt is as much a turn-off as too much.  Getting things just right wasn’t just a problem for Goldilocks.


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57 Responses to “Local Cliffs — Study I & II”

  1. Dienna said

    I like these! The first one has more dimension and depth to me.

    ” Getting things just right wasn’t just a problem for Goldilocks.”

    All you can do is keep trying until you feel you get it right.

  2. George Weaver said

    I really do like the interpretation in #1. Probably because the contrast is more definite. I like the colors too. Actually, I like elements of both. The larger piece, “zoomed-in” view in #2, is appealing with a strong train signal. I like both.. I don’t see the problem with the train signal being too far left, but I don’t know much about composition. It is pleasing to my eye.

    • thank you very much for giving it your considered thought–when you work alone, it all becomes a bit skewed and other voices help. I just began the second one with washes that weren’t bold enough. So a third attempt will try to rectify that. I appreciate your help, George, as usual!

      • George Weaver said

        You’ve been doing this for so many years with such skill and vision that I should shut up. Never mind, I can’t shut up, you know. Just ignore me. I’d like it if you threw a brush at the paper and hung it. Hey, now that I think about it, wasn’t that about what Picasso did…or did he hire street urchins to cut and paste his? ;-)

  3. sandy said

    l like the first one best, too. The colors are great.

  4. TBM said

    I really like the first one. Good luck with number 3. I love that your blog is showing me that painters go through drafts like writers. I never realized that before.

  5. Nice work and thank you for sharing the reference photo – there are some fascinating weathered forms there.

  6. ljr3 said

    Both have merit. I like the colouring of the ridge in the first one and the sense of clarity in the second one. I’m a detail freek so I like the second one in that respect. Personally I like the train signal where it is in the second one.

  7. niasunset said

    Dear Lance in your watercolour paintings I loved much more, the colours especially. But I know the inspiration should be great too. Thank you, with my love, nia

  8. Like both too and agree the train signal looks good on the second one – makes me feel like I’m standing at the train signal looking at the ridge.:)

  9. magsx2 said

    I love the second painting, I feel you can see the signal a lot better than in the first, but I love the colours in the first one as well, I will be very interested to see the third one is this set. :)
    Very nice work.

  10. Victor Ho said

    Yours is a talent that I can only admire. It is beyond my expertise to comment. But I can appreciate the artisitc process and decisons you consider in order to get a final worthy piece. It’s all looking good.

  11. Good cooking Lance! Thank you for sharing these delectable images and your process with us. Linda

  12. Both of them are beautiful and great pices of art; the first one is indeed my favorite because of the contrast and the colors.
    Nicely done, great work!

  13. ShimonZ said

    I find both of these studies very interesting, and beautiful too. To me it seems that the problem so far, is not with the natural landscape… which I think you’ve described with great sensitivity, but the striking contrast between the railroad signal and the natural lay of the land. Perhaps you could lessen the intensity of this man-made bject within the context of the picture, and make it more of a hint, a suggestion of presence, rather than a stark object. I think that’s what you have to think about.

    • Thank you for that offering, Shimon. I am very appreciative when I get the unvarnished opinion in this blogging universe of ‘likes’. Actually, this landscape subject reminds me so much of the Qumran area and Dead Sea region. The train signal is prominently there because this city was built as a railroad hub and so the painting will have local appeal if it includes both the cliffs and the signal. Train buffs have a sentimental attachment to such objects (smile)

      • ShimonZ said

        I understand that consideration… and really, I don’t have anything against the signal. It is there; part of the scene. I do think that both of these paintings are quite successful, with my preference for the bottom one.

  14. plrang said

    I agree with @ShimonZ. That’s why I’d choose the first version. Because the definition is the same across the whole image. I see it as a complete piece in terms of style.

    The second is ok too, but the definition and style of that signal is too different from the ground (for the painting), and it pops out too much.

    I’m saying it as a spectator because I’m still not so good in watercolor. I know what I want, but don’t know yet how ;)

    Of course I like all that work as an art.. especially the subject is not so easy.

    • Thank you for your frank and helpful comments! The 1st version is a nice impression, but these cliffs are so well known locally that people would point out that it doesn’t look accurate. The railroad has a huge presence in our city and people feel nostalgic and happy to see signals used in paintings and photos. That’s why it is highlighted so much. I am painting this in order to sell it–and it will sell better if it has the signal. Thank you very much again.

      • plrang said

        An artist knows best what he wants to show, I can’t see Your intentions, so I’m just writing here my subjective opinion. It’s great we can see both sides of the work and share them. BTW. that signal is ok, I just prefer if it is not so obvious, well.. I understand Your point of view, best regards

  15. Mark said

    I love being able to see how you weave your magic!

  16. The first study has more depth..however, they are both beautiful. Job well done. Cannot wait for the third installation..

  17. I think your studies make this ridge look really interesting. I like the contrast in the first and the subtlety in the second. Now looking forward to the third!

  18. I like the train signal detail in the second painting, but love the colors in the first.

    Now…where’s the train!? :)

  19. isabellart said

    Nothing short of amazing !

  20. I like the shades of the second painting.

  21. I love your blog! I really admire how much effort you put into your work. You are a great artist! I really admire you.

  22. Francina said

    I like both studies, Lance. The first one has more depth to it and more colour that is true. However the second one has a kind historic feel though like old paintings and maps have .Oh my, I hope this make sense to you. Forgive me my Dutchy-English.

    Ciao, Francina

  23. Nice work! I like the first study best, because it has more depth. But the other have more details. You know best! ;)

  24. I have been away Lance, but as usual, your work and your explanations are inspiring and educational. I am looking forward to your third and final interpretation. As for the train signal, I agree with it being there. Most likely the painting will be purchased by someone local who will have their own memories attached to it as well as the beautiful representation you always paint.

  25. Wonderful works Lance! I think they are both fantastic as they focus on differnt aspects of the ridge and force the viewer to see it differently. Looking forward to the third! I don`t how I have missed your last two posts! Must be more thorough next time.

    • I haven’t been attending to my visitations lately, and it is kind of you, Lorelie, to stop by despite my tardiness. I’ve been under the gun to paint to a deadline, which isn’t the way we enjoy it–but it does produce results.

  26. kofegeek said

    wow, the watercolor sketch is better :D

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