Tumamoc: Red-Orange, 2/25/14, 15:00

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I’m working in the afternoon on Tumamoc Hill. It’s about 2:45 when I begin and 4:00 when I stop. It all feels pretty Orange at 2:45…to me.

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During this time, the most noticeable change is not so much the direction of the shadows/highlights, but the saturation of the red-orange in the rocks. I decide to change the key from Orange to Red-Orange.


Palette: Red-Orange, with blue-green complement and blue and blue violet for a simple harmony.

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I leave the Hill at this stage. At home,  I begin adding tints to tone down all the rich color…and dig myself into a hole. Sometimes working on a plein air in the studio is not the solution to the problem…


…but this is! also know as “The Wipeout”.

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I am determined to figure this out, having grown fond of that tree-ocotillo.

New approach: Go back to the scene to study a little more in-depth. I’m measuring and gathering texture in this line/ink sketch and looking, looking, looking, soaking it up with my eyeballs.

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Using the “ghost” of the first picture, I am more careful  and deliberate in this next attempt, yet maintain the color harmony with red-orange as key. I want to create a strong sense of the saturation of hue and quality of light at this time of day so I name the work after the key color and day and time of the creation/execution…(how can these two words mean the same thing?).


I have in mind to explore different times of day. Maybe I could make one every hour, like Monet did with the Haystacks and Chartres Cathedral. What a concept!


M.Milstead, R-O, 2/25/14, 15:00, pastel on paper, 2014

5 thoughts on “Tumamoc: Red-Orange, 2/25/14, 15:00

  1. I love that painting! It is really active and exciting because it reverberates the way the desert does when the light is “special”.

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