The Columbia River offers many beautiful vistas for an artist, which makes selecting one a challenge. I selected this view because I was intrigued by the rail tunnels cutting through the basalt and the fact that I could see through them completely. The tunnels were like black holes that framed mini-landscapes when you looked through them.

The painting challenge was to depict the depth of the landscape using value, chroma and color. To do this, I had to pay particular attention to color mixing. The left side has the foothill mountains fading into the distance. I’ve found that mixtures for the forested areas are the most believable when manganese violet (which reads red) and raw umber were added to the essential blue and green mixtures. During this mixing stage on the palette, I added white or a dark to control value while constantly comparing it to the other colors.

The color of the water had many of the same oil paint mixtures. I adjusted the colors with white, and I feel I was especially successful with this group of blues in depicting the color and flow of the water.

The land part was interesting to paint because of the extreme value contrasts between the shadow areas under the trees and along the canyons. The painting challenge beyond the color mixing was to control the edges where the dark and light areas meet.