Clouds Crowd the San Juan Mountains

Sketch of San Juan Mountains in July by Sarah Sullivan

Clouds Crowd the San Juan Mountains

After getting help from friends, a cousin and the internet, I now know some of the characteristics of a mountain scene that I can look for as I study possibilities for a sketch. A foreground is important, it should be crisp and bright and imply a scale for interpreting the whole sketch. The far mountains are much less clear and its colors are less saturated. A mid-ground helps give a sense of depth by bridging the foreground and mountain. And the clouds or sky just above the mountains will blend together somewhat. Colors will tend to go from clear greens in the foreground to muted greens in the mid-ground and blue/purples for far off mountains. This is not a formula and you don’t need all of these parts for every sketch but it is helpful to have a model to use for the thinking work of a sketch. Now all I need to do is relax and let my enjoyment of the mountains and forest show in my work. 

The clouds today rolled down the mountains and I worked to capture this in today’s sketch. This is a sketch of one of the mountains that rises up from the south side of Telluride valley floor and was made with gouache and pastel in a 12 x 12 inch black Derwent sketchbook.

About Sarah Sullivan
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5 Responses to Clouds Crowd the San Juan Mountains

  1. sheila greer says:

    Beautiful, Sarah. Thank you for sharing so well that which you are learning!!! Hope you are enjoying every moment of your journeys in art and travel. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tprevey says:

    Wow! Gorgeous!


  3. Linda says:

    This is one of my favorites. I had no idea how much thought goes into each piece.


    • Thank you Linda, I did not know it either when I started. But the more I work at it, the more I realize how much better it goes if I think it through first. Funny how similar this is to most other plans and work….


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