Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Bluff at Pruitt, Buffalo National River, Newton County

The Bluff at Pruitt
24X30, Oil on Canvas

The Arkansas heat machine has cranked up to full strength. Little Rock set a record for this date today with a temperature of 107°F (almost 42°C)! Yesterday the heat index was 120°F(49°C). No relief in sight right now. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be doing much plein air painting in the coming weeks. I did go out on a hike at Petit Jean State Park the weekend before last with my oldest son and did some painting along the way. It's in the studio for touchups right now.

The above painting was begun in February or March. I finally decided it was done late in June. It was tough one. I spent a lot of time staring at it waiting for it to tell me how to proceed. There were times in it's upbringing when I thought I'd never get it to resolve. But finally, it told me what it wanted and I complied. I remember it still being pretty chilly and dreary when I started it and I was anxious for some sun shine. Now I'm anxious for the chill of fall and some Razorback football.

Pruitt is right off of Highway 7 between Jasper and Harrison in Newton County. I've spent a good deal of time here. This is the little swimming access upstream of the Highway 7 bridge. Those who are very familiar with this area may realize I've taken some liberties here with this scene. The gravel bar is in considerable shade in reality but I wanted to get some sunshine in to work on trying to depict some hot sky with a flood of sunshine. Getting ready for summer and all that...

The Magnolia painting for Columbia County hit a snag last week. It's pretty decent size for me at 18X24 so it's no surprise it's taking a bit of time to bring to resolution. The bones of the painting were sound and most of my initial planning was good as well. Some of my execution was lacking. I've gone back and laid in a whole new sky and increased the overall warmth of the piece. I also turned the clock back from a midday time frame when the actual reference photo was taken to a late morning exposure to bring more interesting shadows into play. I think it's finally rounding a corner and may be ready fairly soon.

In the meantime, I plan on a drive eastward into the delta early one morning this coming weekend before the sun blisters the landscape. After that one, I think I'll work off a substantial backlog of reference photos until the weather begins to cool some.

Till then, stay cool folks...


  1. Great paintings John. I live in Newton County so if you are looking for any other pleir air venues, I know a few and I will share them readily. This is a a great place to live.

    Keep up the great work.

    Michael Dougherty

  2. Hey Michael

    Great hearing from you! I'll most certainly take you up on those plein air location as the weather begins to cool.