Painting The Peaks

After a wonderful painting weekend in Whistler as a part of the Painting The Peaks Event organized by the White Dog Gallery, few things came up as very useful and worth sharing.

Panorama from a Whistler Mountain hiking trail (Harmony Meadows towards the High Note Trail)


 I wanted to fully finish a couple of larger paintings, rather than do several small sketches, so I chose acrylic over oil this time. I feared that my acrylics would dry too fast (it was a scorcher), but they behaved just fine in the shade and with use of a water-sprayer.


 I had my half-Julian easel with me, thinking that weight wasn't important since I was not going on a hike. Wrong - even a short stretch of uphill walk with this beast makes you feel miserable on a very hot day. I had to drag my stuff up a short length of a hill and was grateful that Sinisa was there to help. If you want to paint on larger canvasses, rather than small panels, a pochade box is not an option. But a light aluminum tripod-type easel would work great.

Canvas Prep

I wanted to paint brightly lit scenes with deep shadows, so I prepared my canvases with a darker than usual (~value 7) warm color imprimatura (burnt sienna + black). The plan was to start with transparent darkest darks, then do the mid-tones, and finish with lightest lights.

Whistler Mountain from Creekside


Limited palette strategy worked out well, I didn't feel that I needed anything else. This is what I used: diox purple, pthalo blue, pyrrole red, ochre yellow, medium cad yellow and white.


The locations I selected to paint from, happened to be almost in full sun, so I sketched in the composition, and quickly blocked in the big shapes with main colors/values on location, and then retreated into shade where I completed the painting from memory.  If you paint in expressive style, this works well since it detaches you from the scene and liberates your creativity. Rather than thinking about the exact matching of the values and colors in the scene, you are free to think how to best express what made you paint this scene.

Support Team

Having a kind soul remind you to hydrate, or even bring you a drink, is a super wonderful treat - thank you Penny and Kathi! Not to mention how great it is to have interesting and supportive companions - that is truly priceless!

Kathi Bond, Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki and Penny Eder

The summer adventures continue. Next weekend I am off to a beautiful garden in Belcara village.

Happy painting!