Dicks Lake Sunset

(Oil on Canvas, 18×24)

Recognizing and learning the basics #2: The night before I visited Fontanallis Lake, at the northern edge of Dick’s Lake, I was able to take a few quick pictures as the sun set across the lake. In the background Dicks Peak and the rocky crags of the Desolation Wilderness slowly settle into the shadows.

Trying to capture the subtle tones and radiant light of such a moment will likely be a lifelong obsession. Learning the techniques to do that started with this painting. None of the photos I had taken provided a perfect composition, but my focus was on the light itself – the blue tinted shadows of the passes broken by rays of bright greens, yellows, and browns. The sun glinting off the ripples and rocks near the lake. The blinding light piercing through the trees and the complex reflected light from the rocks in the foreground.

Every element of this painting was a learning experience and a valuable lesson of analyzing how light interacts with the environment. The techniques acquired through process of painting the Dick’s Lake Sunset will serve as a foundation for future works.