Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #25

Nichols Creek …then and now

One of my winter rituals in landscape painting for the past ten years or so has been to visit a secluded glade which my brother Steve Gerhartz  first showed me.  Steve, an accomplished artist himself, has painted this location often and has been generous in sharing where his adventurous spirit leads him. This particular “bit of paradise” offers wandering streams that spring forth from the hillside as they descend through virgin cedar forest.  Endless angles and abstractions provide ample material for intriguing and inviting designs.

The invigoration of being surrounded by such beauty and experiencing the joy in trying to capture it on canvas bring to mind what my mentor and friend, Richard Schmid, once said to me while enjoying the experience of landscape painting, “We should be arrested for having this much fun while at work”.   His enthusiasm for the thrill of painting is truly memorable.

This past week I made the pilgrimage to our favorite spot and captured the afternoon sunlight in this new work, “The Scent of Cedars”, 24 x 40, oil on linen.


The technical advice for this challenging work was to keep in mind the original intent of design and light as the moving shadows and spots of sunlight created a new composition every few minutes. If I had constantly chased the moving light and added spots here and there as they shifted, the composition would have been fragmented and less unified.  I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping in mind a solid design of lights and darks from the outset.  It is always helpful for me to produce a thumbnail sketch of this pattern, or if you are tech savvy, a digital sketch of the arrangement of shapes that you may refer to as you continue in the field.

Another snow scene entitled “Spring Fed”, painted in this same forest may be seen on page 101 of our book, “Not Far from Home”.  Enjoy!

book cover new web

Just an update on the video, “The Beginning of Autumn” …  we were originally planning on releasing our latest video solely as a digital download but recently have felt it necessary to also offer it in DVD and possibly BluRay.  We are very close to production on that and hope to have things ready in a month or so.  Thanks for your patience!


One response to “Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #25

  • lisagrahamart

    What a beautiful scene and a magical painting of it. I am a self-taught artist and lately I have been trying to learn how to paint light. I’ve looked very closely at your painting and what amazes me (and excites me as I am learning about light) is how that little swipe of red on the ground to right and also on the tree depicts light. I would never think to pull out red as I am painting with all the softer colors on the ground. I hope my comment does not seem too elementary, but it really does amaze (and excite me). I am amazed about the possibilities in art being endless. Your art work is truly stunning. Thank you for taking the time to write about your work…your writing did cause me to look more closely at your painting.

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