Climbers on Half Dome

Joshua Eckert - Half Dome 2011
Climbers on Half Dome, 24×36, Oct 2011

Along the way, I consulted about 12 master paintings to resolve challenges in this one.  I’ll share just a few of these paintings to which I owe credit, and I do this for the sake of shedding light on the process by which my painting came about.  Inviting comparison to these masterpieces is a dangerous game.

Turner nailed the clouds in this painting–in fact, I can’t think of a painting with more dynamic, turbulent clouds. I studied them closely.
This Ken Salaz painting handles the distant rows of trees expertly.  I like how he suggests detail (this is a tiny painting by the way)
I’ve always been dogmatically opposed to putting purple and green together–I think these are more difficult to combine successfully than any other two colors–but Mary Cassatt pulls it off, and to an astonishing effect. This painting was an important color reference as I worked.

This painting by Courbet is grand without being bombastic or overstated.  Like the previous two, it allows the viewer to get lost in the nuances (and the upper middle class of the last two decades loves their understated nuances). I paid attention to the way Courbet handled the figures clothes, and you’ll see a similar style in mine. High contrast indirect painting–layers and layers. I also laid down a venetian red base beneath the rocks which glows through and makes the rocks luminous as if glowing with reflected sunlight.


Prep studies

Climbers on Half Dome

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