Street scene in Salida, Colorado

Here's a painting I did yesterday on a street corner in Salida, Colorado. You can see the giant "S" on Salida's spiral mountain, just behind the Palace Hotel sign. 

Palace Hotel, Salida, Colorado. Casein, 5x8 inches, by James Gurney
I used casein paint, with the limited palette of cobalt blue, golden ochre, Venetian red, burnt umber and white. 

Here's a detail of the shopfronts and awnings. This represents about one square inch of the original painting. By the time I got to this stage, I was using smaller brushes, mostly flats. With casein, you can build detail by overlapping light over dark and dark over light.

Here's an early stage, about 10 minutes into the 1 hour painting. 

Although there's quite a bit of finicky detail work in the final painting, the beginning stages are really loose, painted with a big brush, a luxury you can afford yourself with opaque painting. But under that loose, transparent lay-in is a carefully measured "pencil map" of the big shapes. 

Additional tip: Whenever you mix a color, think in terms of classifying the colors in the scene. For example, you might think "white in shadow," "bricks in light," or "aspen foliage in light," etc. Once you have that color on your brush for the one thing you wanted to paint, look for other places in the scene that have similar conditions, and repeat that color in those places.
Note: Tonight at midnight is the deadline for the "Plein Air Persistence" video contest. I'll try to have all the entrants up and ready for voting by the end of the 24th or 25th.
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