Colorado Front Range in Autumn

Colorado Front Range in Autumn
Oil on bristol board, 5.5″ x 9.75″

In Colorado the Front Range is an area at the western edge of the mostly flat plains of eastern Colorado that then rapidly transitions into the Rocky Mountains. This relatively small area contains most of the population of the entire state, including the city of Denver, and is the area I used to live a long time ago.

This scene is looking northeast from the side of Eldorado Mountain, moments before the train slips into another of many tunnels in that part of the mountains. When traveling west it’s the last clear view of the land east of the Rocky Mountains, but when traveling east it’s the point where the broad expanse of the plains suddenly opens up as you emerge from the tunnel.

The strip of golden trees stretching into the distance are large cottonwood trees in their fall colors. They grow next to water, and these are following the course of the South Boulder Creek.

I started this on with acrylic on bristol board that had been primed with a coat of gesso. After roughly sketching everything in acrylic I put an extra two coats of clear acrylic gesso and acrylic medium on it to protect the paper from the oil paint. To give extra support to the paper I used PVA glue to glue it onto the back of an oil sketchpad. The photo with part of a white oil paint tube at the bottom is where I switched to oil. The clear gesso seems too absorbent though and is probably what caused some sinking in during the first oil painting session. That’s when an absorbent surface sucks some of the oil out of the paint on top of it and causes the paint to look dull and matte until more oil is added later. Maybe in the future I’ll get some acrylic matte medium instead.

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