The Dimming of a New Mexico Day, February 8, 2010

The Dimming of a New Mexico Day

I’m excited to have a few new watercolors in progress–they’re just not far enough along to post for viewers yet.  As a rule in 2010, I have not been posting finished works already on my website.  But I’m making an exception because this evening I entered three watercolors in the Arlington Visual Arts 34th Annual Regional Juried Art Exhibit.  This is one of them.

Two summers ago, I finished a 3,000-mile plus road odyssey beginning in Texas and going through Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and finally New Mexico where I connected with my wife who had been vacationing with her daughter.  As we drove back toward Texas together, I was mesmerized by the quality of the New Mexico sunlight, especially during a gathering storm late one afternoon.  This abandoned structure was just ablaze with light in the field, and I could not stop staring at it.  We drove up close, and I got up and walked all around it, photographing it from every conceivable angle, all the time intoxicated by that light.

Watercolor has always intrigued me because of the reflective possibilities of light reflecting off the bright paper through transparent layers of wash.   I read in a book long ago (and wish I had documented it!) “the paper is the atmosphere in which the watercolor breathes.”  That thought has been a consuming passion with me as I have experimented with colored washes in the watercolor world.  With this particular painting, I was spending a great deal of time looking at Edward Hopper paintings and noting his extreme contrasts between sunlight and shade.  I kept layering pigments into the shadows, trying to get this painting to “pop” with that same kind of Edward Hopper contrast.

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7 Responses to “The Dimming of a New Mexico Day, February 8, 2010”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Wow! You really achieved the contrast you wanted. The love the strength in this painting and the feeling of tension created by the approaching storm.


  2. David Tripp Says:

    Thank you, Linda. This was the first watercolor where I managed to build up that kind of contrast. It took me forever to learn the secret of darks–it seemed the whiteness of the paper always overcame, until this one.


  3. lesliepaints Says:

    This is so full of contrast, David. You captured the light alright! I am most impressed with the combination of that simple contrast and the simple shapes brought to such beauty.


  4. David Tripp Says:

    Thank you, Leslie. This was a real breakthrough for me. It’s made a big difference in how I approach contrast in watercolor now.


  5. View From a Tunnel « Leslie White Says:

    […] beautiful painting done with a strong contrast between light and dark on David Tripp’s Blog here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Damn and ballastSteel City Status ReportBosnia […]


  6. Richard McNaughton Says:

    I love the contrast, some times you have to just jump in with both feet and throw caution the wind. Hope you do well at the show.


  7. Stephen Says:

    Hi David – I love how you have captured the run down nature of it all – Stephen


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