Saturday, October 8, 2011

Utah cottonwood color - pastel

12 x 12 inches
pastel on Artagain
© S Johnson
A studio piece that took far longer than it should have to finish (and subsequently, feels a bit over-worked).   It didn't quite meet my pre-painting expectations, but I got a lot out of painting it nonetheless.

From a photo taken about 25 miles south of Moab along Hwy 191 last year, at a rest stop situated next to one of those tickey-tacky tourist stops:  Hole N''The Rock.  Not to be confused with the road of the same name in the Escalante-Grand Staircase NM (also in UT), it started out as a house built into the large outcropping of Navajo sandstone by a Mormon pioneer close to a century ago.  That in itself is kind of interesting, but if you click on the link, what immediately assaults your aesthetic sense is the huge white lettering on the side of the rock.

Really?  Why?

At any rate, this beautiful Fremont cottonwood showing off its range of leaf color, was mercifully well out of view of the whole [hole?] view of all that.  Cottonwoods have these wonderful organic shapes to their trunks and branches, never orderly or predictable, and that is what draws me to them as photography and painting subjects time and time again.

Only one more day to get any painting in before I leave for Moab!  Thanks to expedient handling and shipping of an order placed on Monday, my two display easels from Dick Blick arrived yesterday, allowing me to leave on Monday instead of Tuesday.  Weather is supposed to be sunny and warm and dry during the event, which after the very winter-like storm that has been hitting our area for the better part of the week, is a relief.

Photos taken yesterday along a drive up Hwy 550 to go check out the snow and fall color situation:

Aspen stand in full color in a fleeting moment of sunlight

Engineer Mountain as seen from the highway near Andrews Lake (~9,900')

Hermosa Cliffs closer to town (~8,000')


  1. The gold leaves look great against the blue sky. Pretty cool painting and beautiful photos.

  2. You captured the gold leaves beautifully. Love the aspen photo---there may be another painting there?

  3. Hi Sheri - thanks so much. I always love how yellow-gold-orange leaves look contrasted against a bright blue sky, which is probably why so many of my fall color photos have that feature as well.

    Hi LeAnn - thank you. I was surprised that the aspen photo even turned out as well as it did; the light [as you can see from the other photos] was atrocious. I'm glad you like it!

  4. Wow, snow! Beautiful fall colors in the pastel. have a great trip!

  5. Thanks, Liz! There was about 5" of snow at the elevations where we took the photos, and more higher up. It's too early for winter, but it was neat seeing the aspen and snow together.

  6. Ooh, I need to get out more. These are stunning.

  7. Beautiful paintings and photographs.
    Your aspen groves in the snow are spectacular.
    Love all your landscapes.
    Have a great weekend.

  8. Wonderful painting Sonya. I really love the trees. I'm kind of hoping the snow holds off all winter LOL

  9. Diane and Roxanne - thank you both so much for stopping by for a visit!

    Thanks, Ruth :) - I totally agree with the holding off of the snow until it's actually winter. The mountains can get as much as they want, but here in town, I am always sick of it by March.

  10. Hi Sonya,

    Great to meet you this week at Moab. Let's get out and paint sometime!

  11. Hey Bill - thanks much for stopping by, and yes, I'm up for a paint out together when I'm coming through your area (and you and Kim are welcome to stay with us if you are in town).

    Enjoy the great painting weather while it lasts!


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