Of all the photos I took during our stay at Timp Pt, I chose this as the sole representative of the Canyon itself. It's actually taken from North Timp Pt., in the afternoon of our long hike. Much of the canyon topography is now in shadow, making it a bit less daunting to paint, and allowing the focus to be on the basic shapes as well as a unique feature of this area of the park: the Esplanade - a cliff-forming layer of sandstone that forms wide slickrock benches as you head west. In the main part of the park, it forms the top layer of the red sandstone/mudstone rocks known as the Supai Group.
oil on canvas board
In addition to going with a bigger size for this piece, it is also the first done on an oil/alkyd primed surface. As soon as I started painting on it, I realized why so many artists favor this surface. I'm sold. This actually represents 3 painting sessions over 4 days; I finished the right lower quadrant yesterday, but still may go back and tweak a few things.
The biggest challenge in this painting was deciding how to render the foreground area with all the busy-ness going on. I would have left more out had I been painting from life and could see what was behind all those trees and shrubs. I just paint them as shapes. To me, there is nothing that screams out "amateur" more than someone who tries to paint individual leaves, grass blades, etc., in their landscape paintings.
As a DIY kind of person, and someone who is looking for ways to save money without sacrificing quality, I primed these myself, using Ace hardware's premium brand of oil-based alkyd primer. The ingredients are the same, but significantly cheaper. I used gesso-primed canvases, so they were already sized. One coat of this alkyd primer was all that was needed - it filled in much of the texture of the canvas and they were ready to use 24 hrs. later.
Here is the first layer on the next painting, titled "Pathways". We are now on our return trip, and this view of a side canyon heading to the Marble Canyon gorge is seen in mid-morning light, on the west side of Marble Canyon, and now it's the Echo Cliffs that are in the background. I need to darken up some values and work on the foreground detail a bit in the next layer; things are looking a bit flat in certain areas.
Pathways - first layer
oil on canvas board