Friday, October 22, 2010

Four Corners series: Echo Cliffs

Here is #24 of the Four Corners roadtrip series, finished today.    As the drive continues north, the landscape changes yet again - the Echo Cliff monocline rises , running in a north-south direction. The Chinle formation fades away, soon only visible as the pink-gray bottom layer of the monocline here.  The Echo Cliffs are one of my favorite parts of this drive.  They were named by one of the members of the Powell Expedition (the 2nd, I believe), who, while standing on the edge of Marble Canyon, noticed that his yell produced an echo.

The Glen Canyon group [Wingate, Kayenta and Navajo sandstones] make up the portion of the monocline above the painted desert rock, from bottom to top.  To the left of the highway, the earth rises to the west, obscuring for the time being the narrow section of the Grand Canyon known as Marble Canyon, or Colorado River Gorge.

Echo Cliffs
9x12 - oil on canvas

It ended up taking more time to finish than I thought it would, and was deceptively more challenging to paint than I originally thought.  The main reason for this, I think, was trying to resolve the debris slopes vs. cliffs on the upper part; they are identical in value and so-so close in hue, with very subtle shadows separating them.  Even looking at the photo, I see that the aerial perspective of the distal edge of the monocline isn't quite right.

I also finished #25 this evening, but am not altogether happy with it.  It presented even more issues, namely a very complex cliff face, so it took some thought to figure out how much detail to include to make it look convincing without being over-worked.  I may end up adding an additional layer to it.

Today's sky - a storm from the Pacific has dropped the temperature and produced lots of rain over the past few days, and has the look of a winter storm:

And, it has added some snow to the highest peaks of the La Platas, as seen yesterday morning:


  1. The storms are coming our way - but our sky will look much darker here in Oregon this coming weekend. Enjoy your photos very much!

  2. Hi Helen - Oregon is one of the few states I've never been to (along with WA). One of these days, I will make it up that way; the eastern part in particular appeals to me greatly. I'm glad you're enjoying the photos!


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