Candice Bohannon: “Long Valley”

by Matthew Innis |

This past week I received an email update from Californian artist Candice Bohannon.  In the email was a description of one of her latest paintings, “Long Valley,” along with some wonderfully detailed pictures of the work.  She was kind enough to let me share it with you here on Underpaintings.

“Long Valley” is currently on view at the Richard J. Demato Gallery in Sag Harbor, New York, as part of “Our Collective Conscience,”  a Women Painting Women invitational exhibition.  The show opened on October 8th, and will remain on view through November 13th.  For more information on the show, visit

To see more of Candice Bohannon’s work and to sign up for her mailing list, please visit



Candice Bohannon
Long Valley (2015)
Oil on mounted linen
33 x 33.5 inches

Today I am highlighting a recent painting of mine on view in “Our Collective Conscience”,  a Women Painting Women themed exhibition on display throughout October 2016 at my gallery, Richard J. Demato Fine Arts in Sag Harbor, NY.

I completed “Long Valley” late last year and exhibited it in November at the Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Culver City, CA.   It was part of the show “Solitary”, a three person exhibition featuring artwork by Aaron Wiesenfeld, Julio Reyes, and myself.  After “Solitary” ended, the painting was sent to New York for RJD Gallery’s current exhibition.



detail of “Long Valley”

“Long Valley” is a contemplative painting.  In it, a lone figure stands on a hilltop and gazes into a great and murky distance.  It is reminiscent of a work I have always admired by the great German romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog,” painted in 1818.


“Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

In “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” I find the spirit of adventure – the need to satiate that intense curiosity to see what is over that next hill, to experience that which is beyond the next bend in the road, to breathe in the unfamiliar air of a new territory.  It is a piece that I feel is a passionate expression of mankind’s inherent loneliness within a great and indifferent Nature.  An introspective painting, it shares so beautifully with the viewer the quiet loneliness of the individual being within the grandeur of this vast world.   While I was working on “Long Valley,” “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” was always on my mind, offering me inspiration.


A close up of the finished painting”Long Valley”.

The valley, with uncertain weather and fading light, is to me a metaphor for an unknown future.  The woman wrapped in a handmade, embroidered cloak is symbolic of the individual within the context of the life they are living:  the past achievements, adopted community, family, shared history, and a lifetime of decisions and actions that create the special context of a single human life – a beautiful and unique creation.  Enveloped in her protective, glittering finery, she stands alone contemplating the distant valley;  it is a meditation on the past, on the future, and on this moment and our place within it, as we look out onto the great unknown.


detail of “Long Valley”

It is hard to capture the exquisite details of this piece with photos online, but because many of you won’t be able to make it out to the show in Sag Harbor this month,  I will take the opportunity here to post some close-ups highlighting a little of the detail work in the embroidered cloth and some of the paint textures, and also a couple of shots of the unfinished work in my studio.


In my first layers on “Long Valley” I created a grisaille.  This black and white underpainting was helpful to establish the composition and to better understand the values with which I was working.  This allowed me to concentrate on the placement of compositional elements and on the mood of the lighting without having to worry about color just yet.


I then began working in full color, painting in the first layer of red in the cloak.  I made sure it was lighter than I wanted it to be in the finished painting in anticipation of adding transparent glazes to heighten the richness and depth of color.


Working on “Long Valley”, before I had finished all the embroidery and much of the finer details of the cloak.


A photo of the unfinished painting in my studio – Here I am refining a thin glaze of red on the lower edge of the cloak. A picture with this level of detail created through the indirect layering of paint takes a long time to make. I worked on this piece for a couple of months while working on another large work (“Evening Song”). The timeline could not be rushed because of the drying time required of all the different layers of oil paint. I used bright reds and yellows that often take over a week to fully dry, and a painting like this takes patience and careful planing.


Here is a closer look at the finished detail in the lower section of the cloak after many layers of glazing and refinement.


Closer look at “Long Valley” – oil on mounted linen.


A paint detail of “Long Valley”


Paint detail of the sky in “Long Valley”


One last detail of the finished painting “Long Valley”


    Steve Diamant

    Absolutely stunning…she is carrying on the painterly traditions of the masters and her sense of drama is unparalleled. Bravo Candice!!


    My god, her work is incredible.

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