The panorama that I painted from the Diamond Grade (a gravel road that climbs a butte north of Diamond, Oregon) is composed of 7 panels, each 12 ” high and 16″ wide, for a total of 12″ x 112″ of continuous imagery. Each masonite panel was painted separately and then lined up with the next to coordinate the horizon and other elements. I was working on a small plein air easel, so I held one painting in my left hand next to the one sitting on the easel, made sketchy reference marks with the brush in my right hand, and then put the worked painting down in the dust of the desert floor where I could refer to it as I painted its partner.
I needed to comprehend what difficulties painting such a panorama would present as part of my preparation for working in the Amargosa Desert during the month of November. And indeed, I discovered I tend to squeeze my scenes into too small a space, something that works well in the city, but can be disastrous in the country. Jef Gun, the leader of our expedition, told me that my original plan for 5 panels was too few — I needed 7. I protested and whined and got snarky — and then used 7 panels. He was right, of course.
Here are panels 1 and 2, painted early in the morning. The sun was in the east and the panels start on the viewer’s left, ie. toward the east. The ultimate panorama takes in about 180 degrees of view. I sat in approximately the same place to paint all the panels, although on the last day, I retreated at about 11 AM to the comfort of the Hotel Diamond’s shaded back yard, where I finished about 4 PM. The panorama was completed over a 3 day period, although I tweaked it a very little in my home studio, where I could line up the panels more readily. I also needed to get inside to get rid of the dust, insects, and fingerprints that had collected on the wet oil paint.
From the Diamond Grade, 1, about 7 AM; oil on masonite, 12 x 16″, 2009
From the Diamond Grade, 2 about 8:30 AM; oil on masonite, 12 x 16″, 2009
From the Diamond Grade 1 & 2 6:30 — 9:30 AM, oil on masonite, each board 12 x 16″, 2009
To be continued. –June