Thursday, Oct 13:
Today was one of those days where I opted to ignore my gut feeling, which was to not return to the Onion Creek area to paint. But, having looked over the photos I took, and having done a couple of thumbnail sketches based on the third photo in the previous post, I was really drawn to the view, and compared to the Fisher Towers painting, this composition was really straightforward: a sand and scrub foreground; red sandstone mesa with shadows; distal LaSal mountains. Really, how hard could that be?
So, after collecting the Civic with its new battery just after 9:00 AM, I headed back out Hwy 128 to the pull off where I'd taken the photo on Monday afternoon. I'm not sure why I thought this would work; the light in the morning was completely different, with both the cliffs and LaSals in shadow, which was not nearly as interesting as the late afternoon light I'd seen on Monday.
However, since I'd already driven the 20 miles to the location, I was determined to try and make it work. I thought that perhaps by the time I'd gotten the drawing done and all the foreground finished, the light would be better, and if I'd been there all day, that probably would have been true.
I decided to go with the 16x20" panel, again. Unfortunately, because of the wiping and washing off of the Tuesday painting, the surface of the paper just wasn't interested in holding the pastel. To make matters worse, the corrugated texture of the Coroplast was coming through when I painted, and after about 30 min, I came to the painful conclusion that this was just not going to work, ever. So, I packed up and headed back towards Moab.
About 5 miles from the Hwy 191-128 junction is a fabulous side canyon called Negro Bill Canyon. I'd stopped there on Monday to assess it for painting potential, but the light wasn't good in the late afternoon - much of everything was in shadow. But, I decided that since it was on the way, perhaps I'd try a quickie 9x12" piece along the stream that runs through the canyon year-round.
I clipped on the backpacking straps to the easel and headed up the very scenic trail, looking for a good (read: simple composition and preferably in the shade) location to paint. I probably hiked 1/2 mile down the trail before settling on this really attractive section of the stream where the water cascaded over some terraced rocks with some fun shadows going on. For this painting, I thought I'd try some of the Wallis sanded paper I brought along.
Again, I'm not sure what I was thinking, since I'm used to painting on smooth black paper with essentially no tooth, and here I'm using a white sanded paper that has a pretty aggressive surface. I think I was there for maybe 10 min. before realizing this was a complete bust.
Realizing that painting wasn't in the cards today, I went back to the hostel and got the 3 paintings I had completed finished and framed. Later, I dropped off the two paintings into the gallery, and got something to eat. While sitting in the cafe, I saw Andre walk by, and I flagged him down. He joined me for dinner, and as the quick-draw event was winding down, we decided to head over to the reception to check it out, and there were a few really outstanding paintings that were a treat to see, including the eventual winner, painted by Doug Braithwaite, which was incredible! Be sure and have a look at his website to check out his outstanding work.
Friday, Oct 14:
Today was the "no pressure" day, as it were - my painting was dropped off for the competition, and I decided that I would spend the day hiking and maybe painting, before the reception and awards that started at 7PM.
I went back down Kane Creek Rd, and hiked up Hunter Canyon. It was glorious, and photos will follow.
On the way back, I decided to paint an area along the road of this remarkable cliff face that kept grabbing my attention each time I drove past - this arch in progress:
9x12 inches - pastel on Wallis
There was so much amazing stuff going on with this cliff wall - the geometric curves of the arch and its shadows; the debris pile under it; the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines...and all the colors! I got it about 85% finished at the site, and did the finishing work from memory today. Painted almost entirely using NuPastels with just a few softies, I was impressed with how fun they were to work with on the Wallis. I'm glad I thought to bring my entire 90-pc. set along.
At the awards reception that night, I had the chance to meet Colorado pastelists Mike Ray and Norbert Nagel. Norbert's pastel took 2nd place in the pastel/dry media category, and was one of my favorite pastel pieces in the show.
It was quite fun to see over 100 paintings by artists in a variety of styles and media all in one place.
Saturday, Oct 15:
Final day of the event, and paintings were on display for sale and silent auction throughout the day.
I attended the judges talk in the morning, which was interesting. Terry Ludwig, one of the judges, CO pastel artist and manufacturer of soft pastels, was kind enough to offer critiques and suggestions for those that were interested.
I got to talking with Norbert and Mike, and they were planning on heading out in the afternoon to paint, along with Terry and another CO artist, Mark, who works in oils. They asked if I'd be interested in coming along, and I said "absolutely!". We couldn't pick up our paintings from the show until 6PM, so what else was there to do?
It ended up being just Norbert, Mark and myself out, and we settled on painting at Kane Springs Campground.
16x12 inches - Strathmore Artagain
|Mark and Norbert painting in the shade of a cottonwood|
|My in-progress painting|
And, so ended my PleinAir Moab trip - I hope you enjoyed the report :)
Here are some photos taken from my hike up Hunter Canyon and the surrounding area on Thursday:
|An amazing balanced rock in Hunter Cyn|
|Desert Varnish on the canyon walls|
|A pair of damselflies taking a rest...she is just dangling there!|
|Reflections in Hunter Cyn|
|Enduring art from a bygone era|