Work in Progress…
“Dam Painting (Great Blue Heron),” Oil on panel, 30 x 40 – Under drawing stage (in progress)
I have wanted to paint this scene from the moment that I was standing at the base of the Keystone Dam which is just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma over 2 years ago. I spent a morning there capturing as much reference as possible of White Pelicans and Great Blue Herons that where fishing at the bottom of the dam in the spill way. This dam was huge and I was just awed by its size, it helped that I was at the base of the dam looking up and over the great expanse of it. Couple that with the fact that you know that there is all this water behind that great wall of concrete exerting pressure against the other side of it makes you feel small.
It was this feeling of being small, positioned at the base of this huge edifice exerting an immense sense of pressure behind it in this painting that I wanted to convey in my composition.. It has taken me almost 8 months of playing with the composition to find that feeling I was looking for and it was by accident that I stumbled upon my chosen composition. Frustrated I zoomed in on the reference and found myself saying “wow” that’s too large and then that’s when it dawned on me. Focus on just a portion of the dam instead of trying to make the entire dam work in the composition.
Now that the composition is focused on just a portion of the dam it also creates these fantastic positive and negative shapes and although you can’t see it yet in my under drawing there are these beautiful tracks of green slim and washed out rust lines that I will be able to include in the finished painting.