Huangshan National Park is a wonder. We spent some time there a few years ago, hiking the extensive trail system. Since we were there overnight, we had the chance to see the sun set in one of the most famed canyons. I have dozens of images from this place, and I’ve been looking forward to painting them, only to move on to other scenes time and again.
I painted this one on Fabriano’s “Elle Erre” cardstock, a reddish violet color. After the initial block-in was smeared, some of the paper color still showed, so it set the tone for the painting. The block-in was done with my back to my laptop which displayed reference photo across the room from my painting board. I had to turn 180 degrees to see it. I find that this forces me to pay attention to the big shapes and keeps me from getting too enamored with the details. After the first session was done, I still wanted to define those amazing crags. I transferred the painting to my smaller drawing board and sat in front of my computer with the board in my lap, using pastel pencils.
In the third session, I put the painting back up on the larger, stand-up setup and finished it with pastel sticks again. I tweaked some of the rocks, found a nice blue that helped me set the depth a bit better, defined the foreground just enough, and called it good.