Monday, January 10, 2011

Hillside Shadows - first in new series SOLD

After minimal consideration (and indications that people were getting bored with the sky series), I've switched gears again!  I had been debating between beginning a series of portrait studies, based primarily on copying of Master's works, or another landscape series.

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.

Hillside Shadows
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


  1. Hi Sonya--thanks for the shout out. I'm humbled that something I've done can help you tap your own creative direction.

    Your paintings of the Southwest are after my own heart. My wife and I lived in Flagstaff for a number of years, and roamed around all that spectacular, spiritual land (and sky) you depict so well.

    Happy painting--I look forward to seeing your new series!

  2. I'm stopping by while my PC is working. Congratulations on completing, for now, your sky series. Your new series idea is a good one - I look forward to seeing it.

    Those were great snow scenes of yours that you linked to, BTW.

  3. Hi Don - thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment, and also for the link back on your comments - that was very kind! And you're most welcome for the shout-out; I love sharing other artist's work however I can.

    I'm humbled that you feel I've done a good job depicting this region in my paintings, especially having lived there yourself. I lived in Flagstaff for 4 years myself.

    Casey - thanks, as always for stopping by and offering encouraging words. I felt like I was a bit out of sorts after holidays, and it is nice to finally have a sense of direction again. I'm delighted that you enjoyed the pastels as well.

  4. Yummy, great job on that snow color + sky color. Lovely.

    And wonderful mesa pic. Did you know there's an area of Boulder called Table Mesa? It's like saying Table Table Mesa Mesa.

  5. Thanks, Jala!

    There is also a "Table Mesa" off of I-17 north of Phoenix on the drive down from Flagstaff. Absurd, isn't it? I have lost how many times various people and myself have mocked that as we've driven past over the years.


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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