Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tes Nez Iah Cottonwood - #41 FC-CP

Next in the Four Corners series is a view that is seen only a few seconds later on the drive, also along the edge of the Chinle wash.  Tes Nez Iah is a small populated area located along the wash; its name, meaning "tall cottonwoods" in Navajo, is a testament to the presence of water in this area.

Cottonwoods are one of my favorite trees, as I've probably mentioned before.  They have wonderful, organic shapes and defy any orderly arrangement of their trunks or branches.  They are a rich, vibrant in the spring and summer and turn a beautiful yellow in the fall.  I loved the juxtaposition of the two trees against the rising edge of the sandstone outcropping.  To me, it almost resembles a still life.

Tes Nez Iah Cottonwood
oil on canvas panel

Even though I'm posting this as "finished", I may go back and adjust a few things.  The photo had a small fence that ran to the edge of the cottonwood; I may go back and add it as I liked it, and possibly adjust the values on the tree a bit.  I attempted to make the greens of the shrubs/grasses different from those in the cottonwood in terms of temperature and value, but I'm not sure it's enough.  I also feel this needs clouds.  

Number 42 in the series - another 6x8 study - is fished, but I'll wait to post that tomorrow.  


  1. I don't know about your change ideas - I really like it well as is. But, I always look at shapes - the dark mass flowing like liquid from the right side is wonderful.

    Do what you must! I like the division of 3 areas, too.

  2. Hi Casey,

    I appreciate your thoughts on this; I think it's easy to get caught up in the self-critique process at times as an artist, and lose sight of what is working. I've discovered it's really easy to overwork a painting as well...

    I was drawn to paint this because of the values and simple shapes, and the emotive aspect of water and shade as scarce commodities in the desert. Those are, I think, successfully portrayed here, so maybe I should just let it be ;).


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