Oil painting portrait of couple in a canyon

The Proposal - Oil - 22 x 28

One of the most challenging commissioned portraits I have ever done! I have always had a secret desire to paint a canyon, but never thought I was quite up to it yet. So when this commission came along, I jumped at the challenge to stretch my abilities and see if I could do it. Although being my own worst critic, I feel that I have been successful in capturing this scene.

I strived to get a three dimensional feel to the different planes of the canyon, as well as make it realistic enough to look like two people out in the noon day sun. I found that the canyon was not as challenging as it was to capture the couple in this scene. Because they are both in such a small scale, it took a long time and very small brushes to capture their likeness as much as possible.  Afterall, it is not just a painting of a canyon. For the painting to be truly successful, it is important that they can recognize themselves.

Despite working from a good photograph, a photo flattens the image and changes the natural lighting. I had to make many adjustments to bring the scene to life in the painting in such a way as to look natural and realistic – but not photorealistic. My goal is to create a work of art that looks realistic, instead of a slavish copy of a photo. Otherwise, you might as well just put the photo on your wall, right?

Close up of oil painting of couple in a canyon

Close up of couple

This was actually the day and location when the young man proposed. The canyon is in Utah, although carved by the Colorado River like the Grand Canyon. The couple, who live in New York, wanted to commemorate their anniversary with a painting of this romantic and momentous occasion. They are already happy with the photo proof I sent them, and I hope that they will enjoy the painting for many anniversaries to come.