Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall in La Plata - plein air, pastel

Fall Along La Plata Canyon Rd
12x16 inches - pastel on black Artagain
© 2011, S.Johnson
During fall color season, the PAP4C group meets weekly for paint-outs.  Today was a return to La Plata Canyon, which is about 10 miles west of town.  The first paint-out I did with the group was in the same area, although on a private ranch, back in mid-June.  Those paintings can be seen here.

Today was another of those "easy to find a location" paint-outs, right along the side of the road.  I've taken photos in this location before, in different seasons, and even before I lived here.   The huge Fremont cottonwood made an easy center of interest, and the slope directly behind was covered with scrub oak in their range of rusts and crimson reds.   Patches of aspen on the base of the mountains show some color.

I didn't get photos of the rest of the group's paintings today, but I had a funny thing happen while I was painting:  A car with two older couples visiting from Germany stopped, and they all came over to see my painting and ask me questions, like where I lived, and where was my work for sale, etc.  And, for whatever reason, they wanted to take photos of me standing next to my easel.  And, they took several photos of the painting itself, which was about 85% finished at that time.  Yes, my painting and I became an international tourist photo prop.  The straw cowboy hat I wear when painting probably added to the "wild west" image of everything - ha!

I don't know what it is, but for some reason, people feel compelled to actually *touch* the pastels.  They never ask; they just touch one of them, and lo and behold - they get "chalk dust" on their fingertip.  Thankfully, that's only happened one other time, but it's sort of amusing.  

At any rate, they were friendly and polite and I offered to take their photos with essentially the same view I was painting in the background, and they were delighted.  The woman who spoke the most English wished me the best of luck for all my paintings, and then at my suggestion, they headed up the highway to Durango.


  1. They got to see a good one, too. Funny about touching the pastels.

  2. Thanks LeAnn - it's one of my favorites as well.

    Thanks, Casey; I had to laugh at how fixated they were by my painting and the pastels. I'm not sure why so many non-artists find the idea of painting on location so intriguing, but many do.

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