Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Final in Four Corners/Colorado Plateau series

After thinking about additional pieces I could do for this road trip series, I decided that this painting will be the last.  I finished it a few days ago, jumping ahead of the others posted yesterday, with the intent it be the last piece.   I had originally planned to sandwich at least 2 more in between yesterday's and this one, of the western part of Mesa Verde, but just decided I'd rather wrap this up and move on to a new series.

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.  


  1. That is quite an accomplishment and your should be proud. All the pieces are wonderful. Do you plan to exhibit them anywhere?

  2. Hi Helen - thanks for your kind words! This series was an excellent way to start oil landscapes. I'm not sure about exhibiting them, although some of the better ones I may offer for sale. They probably have more interest when seen as a group, though.

  3. Maybe for fun and a change of pace, you should take some of the same paintings and try reversing all the normal colors (on the color wheel)'ll end up with something that looks like it comes from a Santa Fe gallery--all Nouveau Cowboy-and-Indian-y, I think.

  4. P.S. word verif.: blarapo

    sounds like a medical condition. "I've come down with a terrible case of blarapo."

  5. P.P.S. And then the next word was "pusno"

    This is when the other guy goes, "Oh yeah? Your blarapo cannot possibly be as painful as my pusno."

  6. "Nouveau Cowboy" -hahahaha! Okay, you MUST be feeling a bit better, or have gotten into the cough medicine ;).

    That's a good idea, actually - I could rework some of the stinkers and try to make them better by using experimental palettes. Might learn something! On this new series I started today, crazy colors might be fun.

    Aren't the wv's funny sometimes? Pusno sounds worse. Sounds rather gross, actually.


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