Enchanted Highway I © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
9 x 12 x 1½ inches • oil on 1.5" deep cradled Ampersand ClaybordTM
private collection • Wayland, New York
Here’s one of several small southwest highway paintings I’m in the process of completing; I’m experimenting with oils on Ampersand Claybord, and so far I LOVE it! The surface is perfectly smooth with no tooth at all, and the clay ground is super absorbent, shortening the drying time of the oils and allowing for cleaner layers. Perfect for these beautiful colors of the southwest desert landscape. This one is from a photo I took just as we were entering New Mexico (aka “Land of Enchantment”) from Colorado, on our way back home from a family reunion. The sky was still dark from a rainstorm which had just passed.
Now that the painting has almost dried to the touch, it has taken on a look almost like a piece done with oil pastels. I like the dry brush look in some places balanced with blending in others. I’m finding that the first layers of paint dry almost as fast as acrylics, so if I want to blend, I have to add fresh paint and do it fairly quickly. Subsequent layers give me a little more blending time, but not much, but that’s okay because I REALLY like the cleaner layers and the broken color effect. I’m looking forward to doing some more of these highway landscapes!