20″x16″ oil on panel
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”        -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

That quote seems fitting for this particular part of skull bridge because it is where the Conti entail Divide Trail cross the Chama river, down from Ojitos Canton.  No one hikes from Mexico to Canada without a plan.  Likewise, without a plan, paintings often fail.

My plan usually starts with a vision, and then some simple scheming.  I find making thumbnail sketches is usually worth the effort.  They help me simplify my composition and cement my value structure.

value thumbnails on a 3″x5″ index card

I chose to use the center composition, portrait orientation.


I painted my piece alla prima, stood back and tried to problem solve.  First question “did I stick to my values?”  With a quick glance at the value thumbnail and the finished painting, the answer is “NO”

value thumbnail compared to value study of unfinished painting

Could connecting the darks across the middle improved the painting?  I think so!  Judge for yourself.

before and after adding a warm grey

3 thoughts on “Chama from Skull Bridge

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