Last Leaves - Volcan Mountain

Last Leaves - Volcan Mountain

This painting is the second painting done for my residency with the Volcan Mountain Foundation ( My mission this year is to capture the change of the seasons through the cycles of the plant life in the Volcan Mountain wilderness area.

This image was captured on a cold and rainy day in late October when clouds sat low on the mountain. As we hiked, trees we neared would emerge from the fog while others remained simple silhouettes.  There was a hush broken only by the drip from branches creating a rhythm that changed as mist gave way to passing bands of rain.

The grays were endless in number, and created a reflective mood. The browns of plants pulling in and down were wrapped in white as fog blew around and through branches, shrubs and golden grasses. In this quiet setting the very last of the fall leaves provided startling flashes of color. They drew the eye, creating a beautiful counterpoint to all the subdued, muted colors. 

The panel with my value drawing, in Burnt Siennna.
I use this to place the elements in the composition and make sure I can capture what I am after. 

Here, after several sessions of work, I have the basics of the background and the branches painted. I have yet to begin work on the leaves, so there you see the underpainting. It took several more days of work to complete the image to my (and my family's) satisfaction. The completed painting is at the top of this post.