For those interested in making your own black surface, here is the method I used:
- approximately 1:1 mix of acrylic paint and Golden pumice ground mixed in small container. I have a spray bottle, so I added enough water to thin the paint to a thick spreadable consistency; adding too much water will result in more than two layers required.
- tape watercolor paper to masonite board or other hard surface with blue or pale yellow masking tape (made for going around corners; its adhesive isn't as robust as regular masking tape, making it easier to remove), leaving a 1/4" border on each side.
- using a 1" el-cheapo house painting brush, apply in linear strokes to cover the paper with an even layer of the acrylic/pumice mix, insuring that the entire surface is covered. Let dry.
- apply a second layer, either perpendicular to the first or in the same direction. Let dry.
- once paper is completely dry and the tape is removed, there may still be some curling of the paper. I then place them between the pages of a heavy book for the rest of the day to completely flatten the sheets. They're ready to go the next day.
The fall colors here in the Durango area are pretty much at their peak now - that includes the cottonwood and various species of oak that cover the hillsides of the mesas surrounding town. One of my favorite locations to go for photos is out by the town of Hesperus, out towards La Plata Cyn. We first went there last summer on our trip out here, and again shortly after we moved to town.
Here are some photos from that drive, including two from the road south that leads to Farmington, NM. I will be going back there probably tomorrow during better light to get more photos of the road to the south - the cottonwoods and other river trees were stunning!
Waxing moon over oak-covered hillside.
Clouds to the east, and rich browns and yellows of fall foliage.
Aspen, spruce and oak.
Sunset sky near New Mexico.