Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#44 and 45 in Four Corners/Colorado Plateau series

Two smaller pieces, completed yesterday.  We are now back in Colorado, perhaps 15 miles east of the AZ border.  To the south, a shallow mesa composed of Mancos shale emerges as we head west.  Its slopes are similar to those of the Chinle formation, having a beautiful array of blue, mauve and rose-colored shales and mudstones.  I was drawn to the colors and abstracted shapes and curves of this un-named series of cliffs.

Colored Cliffs
oil on panel

As the colored cliffs gradually disappear, the landscape opens up, providing a sweeping view to the south of northern New Mexico.  An iconic landmark of the Four Corners region - Shiprock - comes into view,  immediately commanding attention.   Shiprock is probably the largest, and certainly the most well-known of the dozens of diatremes in the region.  Against the surrounding sedimentary rock, the weathered remains of this explosive volcanic neck look almost out of place, and surely enigmatic for those not familiar with the region's geology.  

oil on panel

I was specifically going for an abstracted image here, to depict Shiprock as a shadowed and silhouetted form against the otherwise featureless land.  It didn't work with a higher horizon, and even though the sky dominates the composition, space-wise, there is no doubt what the point of interest is.  Clouds add some interest and help balance out the open sky.  

Here is another photo of Shiprock, taken along Hwy 491, with the view to the northwest, and partially obscured by the winter storm.  I am sure it will figure into many photos and probably more paintings in the future.

And, finally, here is a shot from last night's sunset.  Abstract-style, for my blogger friend Jala:


  1. Woo-hoo, just for me! ;) Awesome.
    Just got your email so I popped right on over to check it out.

  2. P.S. Forgot to say, great work all 'round.

  3. I totally thought: "Jala will dig this" when I shot it yesterday, so of course it had to go on the blog :). I love how the cloud wisps form what look like fingers with tips touching, extended.

    Love how nature abstracts things.

    Thanks 'bout the rest of it - nothing earth-shattering, but quick, easy and fun to paint.


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