I'm glad I decided to attend the paint-out with our group yesterday, which was held at the Aztec Ruins National Monument, in Aztec, NM. The temperatures were supposed to be in the high 50's-low 60's, and with no wind.
|Walls and Shadows - plein air|
16x12 inches - pastel on Strathmore Artagain
© 2012, S.Johnson
My first attempt was chaotic, shall we say. Values were good, but the color harmony? Not so much...so, even though I'd spent probably 1 1/2 hrs. on it and was almost finished, I wiped it down. The ghosted image remained, so I didn't have to re-draw all the lines. I sat down, pulled out the two "base" colors for the ruins, and finished it up. At the critique session, everyone really liked it, which was nice to hear, because at times like this, I often write it off. Suggestions were made for things to tweak on it, which I did, as well as a few things I felt it needed.
Now, I'm pretty happy with it.
The weather was just so amazing and warm in the afternoon that I decided to make the most of it and do another quick painting. During the critique session, Stephen - the host for the paint-out - was telling us about a unique feature in the Aztec ruins (which, like Chaco, Mesa Verde and Hovenweep - are Anasazi): layers of green rock in the masonry of some of the walls [though not in the walls were I painted]. He had incorporated that element into his painting, and the idea struck me as so cool that I decided to do my second painting with that in mind:
|The Green Line - plein air|
12x12 inches - pastel on black cardstock
© 2012, S.Johnson
Why did these ancient masons decide to add the layers of green rock into their structures? Of course, no one really knows, but I'd say probably "because they could". Because it is a way of adding decoration and their own individuality to their community. The rock apparently had to be brought in from a distance, so perhaps there's some spiritual significance as well. Either way, it's a neat thing and I'm sure they would be thrilled that people are noticing it 900 years later.
Some photos from the lunch/critique:
|Fran and her painting|
|Karl showing one of his paintings|
|Deb's painting. She added clouds as per critique suggestions in the afternoon.|