Monday, April 5, 2010

Along the Trails - pastel

These are two pastels completed a few weeks ago while I was still in Bisbee.  During my time there, I would hike or trail run the nearby trails in the Mule Mtns. when weather and time (and my energy level) permitted.   Having such easy access to such great trails that gave both an excellent workout and views was  something I'll always love about Bisbee.

These were based on photos taken on the same day, on the same trail.  The trail begins at the terminus of the road/locale in Bisbee known as "Brewery Gulch".   The paved road in town curves around as it heads north, passing by businesses and residences.  It eventually turns to a dirt road, going through a very run-down area of dwellings that look better suited for condemnation than living space.  The road contours the drainage through Zacatecas Canyon, which is where the trail begins.  During the first part of my stay, the creek was dry.   For the last two months, however, it had variable amounts of water.  Along the trail are old rock retaining walls, the only remains of old miner's homes from the early 19th century.  A series of step, or check, dams are present along the drainage.  These were built by the CCC in order to help control the flash flooding that occurs each summer during the monsoons.

Both paintings were done on Canson paper.  The first is heading up Zacatecas.  The creek is to the left, not visible.  It is a composite - the clouds were based on another photo taken about 20 min. earlier on the traverse trail.  It's heavily blended, and a bit over-worked, I think, particularly the grasses to the right.  The second, in contrast, was done in 30 min., with the intent being to keep the painting loose and being more attentive to values and shapes than color.  It is heading back down the trail, and the north facing slope is in shadow.  The creek is now on the right side.  The cumulus cloud?  From my head.  It probably looks that way, which is 100% okay.   I've always liked those dramatic clouds seen in the Arts & Craft-era posters, so this is like that.

I take photos of the trail on every hike I do, so there will no doubt be more in the future...

Trail up Zacatecas Cyn
My favorite part of this painting is the bush in the right foreground.

Down Zacatecas Cyn
This is a bit lighter and less saturated than in real life.  

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