Sunday, November 14, 2010

Plateau, Rising #1 & 2 - FC & CP series

My sister was in town visiting for the past 4 days, so my time in the studio and online was limited.   Definitely no time for any blog updates, so now I'm trying to catch up a bit.

For #31, I decided to do both an oil and pastel painting, just to experiment with different media and see how they handled.  The views are slightly different for each and the emphasis is therefore different as well.   At this point in the trip, we are leaving the Paria Plateau and the Vermilion cliffs behind as we head west and begin the 4000' climb up the east Kaibab monocline which forms the Kaibab Plateau and the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

As the highway ascends the monocline, the abrupt geological change is striking:  the Triassic Vermilion cliffs terminate and are separated from the beginning of the Permian period Kaibab limestone, forming the top layer of the monocline (and the Grand Canyon), by the surficial deposits in the House Rock Valley.

Plateau, Rising - #1
oil on canvas

For this painting, a small section of the highway is seen below, emphasizing the rapid rise up the monocline.  Pinyon and juniper start to return.  This was a 2-staged painting, and I had fun using the 3 tubed greens in the palette to produce the range of warm and cool greens that make up the vegetation of this desert landscape.

Plateau, Rising - #2
pastel on Strathmore 500-series paper

The emphasis for this piece is the foreground with the trees helping define the contour of the land and providing a sense of scale.  

I decided this piece would benefit from a detailed (for me) drawing to establish values and precise tree locations using a white Conte pastel pencil and charcoal pencil.  It was surprisingly fast and easy to copy the positions of pretty much every tree in the reference photo.  

Which painting is more successful?  I personally feel the pastel version is, for a variety of reasons.

Number #32 was also completed this evening, in a single session.  I will post it tomorrow, and am deciding if I want to do a pastel variation as well.  


  1. Love this series. I think Plateau, Rising 1 & 2 are both successful. They each have their own strengths. #1 seems more quiet in mood and #2 more vibrant.

    Wish I could've been there to visit too!

  2. Hi Liz - we had a great time, and of course, it was great to see Rox. It would be fantastic if you could come up for a visit at some point :).

    Thank you for your kind words about the paintings and this series - I really appreciate it!


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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