What ultimately inspired my choice, however, was Don Gray's post today on his blog Daily Art West, entitled "Below The Mountain". It is a marvelous winter landscape depicting the light hitting the face of a mountain with the land below cast in shadows. It immediately reminded me of the photos I took on our Dec 31 drive back from AZ, along the section of Hwy 550 north of Albuquerque, beginning around the Zia Indian reservation.
The light was in the "magic hour", producing a beautiful pink glow on the sandstone cliffs, hills and distal Jemenez Mountains to the east as we headed north. Much of the land was cast in deep blue shadows from cliffs and mesas to the west, and residual snow clouds were also catching the late afternoon light of the sun.
I went back through my photos of that area and knew that I'd found my next series, which I'm calling Winter's Presence, for lack of a more creative name. I've found at least 10 photos out of this batch that I could easily paint. Plus, there are photos I took last year, this year in the La Platas, and no doubt more to come. So, it could be a long series. I did two snow paintings last year, in pastel, which remain amongst my favorites, and I knew I would be painting more snow/winterscapes. You can see them here: Winter on the Ridge Trail and Winter Stream. I'm actually really excited about this new series, and am off to work on another piece in a bit.
oil on board - 6x8"
I never got around to posting photos from that section of the trip, which is just as well, but here is a panoramic shot I took when we stopped to switch off driving duties, showing how beautiful the combination of sandstone cliffs, snow, and afternoon light and shadow are:
Mesa on the Zia Reservation