|Arch Canyon Spires - plein air, 12x9 inches, pastel on cardstock|
© 2012, S.Johnson
Done on day three of our trip, when our group of four took a hike/trail ride up Arch Canyon, the mouth of which we camped during our stay in the area.
I never know whether I'll be in the mood to paint, or find a decent location to sit and paint (must be in the shade) when I bring my plein air gear along on hikes. But, even for the times I've hauled it along and never brought it out, I've never regretted bringing it...just in case.
This particular painting also pushed the envelope of how far I've hiked to paint: 4.8 miles. I honestly thought I might be too tired to paint; the temps were in the 80's and hiking through soft sand along a Jeep road can wear one out. Our friends, riding ahead on their horses, found the perfect location for lunch - a sandstone overhang with abundant shade right next to the creek. And this view. I could have easily done 3-4 paintings from the exact location.
For whatever reason(s), this painting came together in a way I couldn't have anticipated, almost surrealistic in how effortless it was. It is moments like this that cause me to not worry when I have a painting slump, because they often result in a breakthrough of some type - I feel there was one here, but I'm not sure what, why or how it happened. There's also something about the effort required to obtain these "immersion" plein air pieces that makes them special to me, and this painting is one of the few I'd have a hard time parting with.
Some photos from the first day and the Arch Canyon hike:
|Our campsite, with Jypsi (Paso Fino) and Indy (pinto Tennessee Walking Horse)|
in their portable corral
|Cliffside ruins (Anasazi) a short walk up Arch Canyon|
|This handsome chap - a Collared lizard - posing for a photo during our hike|
|Ancient granery along Arch Canyon - telephoto shot...|
|...another photo to show just how inaccessible and high this granery was|
|Sarah and Jypsi at our lunch location; I sat in the shaded alcove to the left to paint|
|A wide-angle view of the spires from the creek bed near the alcove|
|On the way back: Jypsi demonstrates her rock-climbing prowess while Todd and Indy look on|
|A look back up the trail on the afternoon hike back|