This painting is a bit of a cheater, in that: 1) it's based on a photo I took during last summer's trip; 2) it technically should have been the first in the series, as it is what you see as a passenger heading west along Hwy 160. C'est la vie. The view I shot on the way home didn't have enough appeal to paint.
Sleeping Ute Mountain is the southwestern-most mountain found in Colorado. It is not part of the Rockies, but is a separate, small range, and is older than the volcanic San Juans. Like the Abajos and La Sal mountains of southeastern Utah, Sleeping Ute is a laccolith - formed of volcanic intrusive rock breaking through sedimentary rock - vs. the Rocky Mountains, which were formed by movements in the earth's crust (plate tectonics).
When I took the photo for this, a single, amorphous cloud was positioned to cast a shadow across the main peak of the mountain, giving it an almost surreal feel that I really liked. So, I kept it - compositional issues be darned. I removed evidence of civilization, aside from a small cluster of trees to the left, and that was it. The mountain lies on the Ute reservation, and the small town of Cortez is to the east.
Cloud over Sleeping Ute
oil on panel
In all, I did 46 oil paintings for this series, and learned much about the handling of this medium in a new format for me. It brings my total of oil paintings to date to 51. Thank you to those who followed the journey across the land I love and added encouragement along the way - I appreciate it!
With the first 50 oils under my belt, I'll now consider the direction(s) I want to head with my next series. I've painted enough green to make my head spin, so I'll probably beg off of painting green-heavy landscapes for a while.