"Towards Comb Ridge"
pastel on 90# w/c paper
This started out as a quick study a few days ago and I finally tinkered with it a bit more today to finish it. It was one of those "spontaneous" choices for a subject: the road, of course, and my attempt to render the monocline of Comb Ridge as simple, abstract shapes with contours of the sandstone defined by the lines of juniper scrub growing along them. The neutral, earthy palette doesn't give much in the way of strong values or contrasts, which is why I didn't use this before. It was more an excuse to paint a road and just try to depict those glorious uplifted slabs of sedimentary rock where the glorious remains of a culture long since passed are tucked away.
It originally started out as a loose (read: crude) watercolor painting, which morphed into the underpainting for a pastel. Prior to applying the pastel, I used a sanding pad to vigorously scrub the surface to remove more texture from the paper.
A few more photos from our trip to the Cedar Mesa area:
Road just west of the Comb, en route to Cedar Mesa
This will definitely end up as a painting one day, and hopefully, much better than this photo
A large balanced rock on the trail in South Mule Canyon on Cedar Mesa
House on Fire ruin - our destination
Mid-morning reflected light produces a beautiful orange-yellow glow on the distinctly eroded sandstone roof, giving these ruins their informal name. It is absolutely stunning!
A well-preserved ceremonial kiva and the crumbling ruins of the small pueblo-style dwelling behind it are located right off the highway through Cedar Mesa