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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Diamond valley, this year in the snow

This year the snow in our area was both wonderful and very tiring!   We sure do need the snow pack for our summer irrigation, and water for the communities.  At Tahoe, the skiing was amazing even in this economy there was a lot of business!  The snow pack was reported to be 159 % percent of normal!      I spent the last few  days painting this scene which is viewable from our driveway, ( the peak) and about a mile for the full view either direction from our little Dutch Valley ranch.  Its Woodfords  Canyon in the background which is on Hwy 88 going south to Calif. and thru Hope Valley after the canyon.   I have been told about local people in the late 1800's having some rather horrific accidents with horse and carriage , going thru the canyon during a flash flood and rainstorm in the summer!   Its the southern route getting to the Gold Fields and over the Sierra's to Calif, so there are many stories.   The little house sits in Diamond Valley and now is all alone.  In the early 1900's there were many little ranches and homes as homesteaders tried to make a living here.  None made it, except maybe Snowshoe Thompson, a local legend.  He was said to have carried the mail thru all weather to California using snowshoes, a plaque is alongside the hwy that goes across the valley. The history is almost as amazing as the mountains here!
This painting is small,  9 x 11 on a grey-blue piece of Canson Mitientes pastel paper.  I have been experimenting using India Ink as  an Underpainting for pastel work on this paper.   Here is my value painting in ink for this scene.
I enjoyed doing the underpainting as much as the color part with the pastels!   I think using a value plan-map is a good way to achieve your goal sometimes, and always try to do this in thumbnails sketches in my notebooks.  doing it on the actual work simplifies the whole process.  Stapleton Kearns says an underpainting is done to separate the problems of color form the problems of values.  I think he is right.     I have often used a value-map underpainting in shades of purple for a watercolor painting, if I wanted to be sure of getting a likeness as close as I could. A sort of Giselle type underpainting.   It is surprising show the purples seem to disappear into the work, helping while not being noticeable.   Just my painting thoughts for today.


  1. Lovely pastel work Ida! Thank you for commenting on my blog.

  2. This is beautiful. And it was fun to hear a little bit about the history of that canyon. I've heard of Snowshoe Thompson. I think he is known in Truckee history too. There is a street in our Truckee housing community with the name Snowshoe Thompson!