In “Extra Bright” I wanted to capitalize on a great view with equally great clouds and stunning light rays. This scene was all about living out west: open space, big skies, far-away houses.

I was traveling through Eastern Oregon and caught a major late summer rain storm that I tracked along with for about two hours. Then the bright sun broke through and lit up the land and the clouds, sending rays of light dancing across the sky.

The success of this landscape depended on the careful mixing of various blues, whites, grays and purples for the skies. The value range was very narrow, so I pre-mixed a lot of each color so I could intermix them as the piece required. I really wanted the light rays coming out of the clouds to be just so, and I tried to keep them simple so it wouldn’t look like a lit-up kaleidoscope.

I purposely kept the foreground simple too so its calmness would contrast with the busyness of the clouds. The clouds and the blue sky in between were painted multiple times in an effort to make the extra bright areas read correctly since white paint is the whitest you can get.