12x12 inches, pastel on black Strathmore
©2011 Sonya Johnson
This is my painting from Friday, painted in the courtyard of the historic Rochester Hotel in downtown Durango. This was with the informal group of local plein air painters that meet on Fridays. Plenty of views to choose from, but I decided on this view of the window of the adjacent Artesanos Design Collection - a fabulous place that carries furniture and arts from Mexico. The storefront facades of the building have stucco atop the brick, but I really liked this window, as well as the brick colors and pattern, and the surrounding foliage, of this seldom seen side of the building.
The hardest part was trying to draw straight lines freehand. Nature usually isn't linear, save for water horizon lines, so I never had to worry about it until now. It's not perfectly plumb, but that's easy to fix when matting it. The ever-changing shadows were also something to consider.
Unlike fellow artist and blogger Ruth, who does remarkably detailed pen and watercolor paintings of building entryways and facades, including every brick, I will never have that degree of patience. So, the brick pattern is merely suggested here. The lower part of the wall was adobe or painted concrete, and I liked the contrast of color and texture with the brick. Painting the Chaco series gave me good practice for doing this wall!
Some subtle reflections from the adjacent foliage in the window, and a slight suggestion as to some inside items, and that was it for the window.
Here is a cool 2-part pano of yesterday afternoon's sky from the deck: crepuscular rays from an edge-lit cloud. Note the upward-cast shadows from the cloud itself:
Yesterday, we did a hike along the Colorado Trail starting from Molas Lake. We were turned back by monsoon rain about 3/4 of a mile before we got to the Animas River, but it cleared up again, allowing us to take a spur trail to check out Molas Creek.
Here are a few photos from that hike:
Snowdon Peak from the CT near the Molas trailhead
Trail through an aspen stand
Corralohiza maculata - native orchids!
Seeing these beautiful little flowers along the trail was possibly the highlight of the hike
This particular species of orchid contains no chlorophyll, which explains the lack of any green pigment
Even deep in the forest along a hillside, lightning is always a danger during a storm
Waterfall along Molas Creek
seen from the spur trail off the CT coming back
With a ND filter, slower shutter speed and a tripod, this would make a killer shot
This was taken 23 minutes after the above photo, less than 1/2 mile from the car. Conditions change quickly, and when you see skies like this and hear thunder, it's time to beat it back to the trailhead ASAP.