|Spring in Negro Bill Canyon|
12x12 inches, pastel on black cardstock
© 2012, S.Johnson
This scenic canyon, located off Hwy 128 and a few miles from Moab, is named after a mixed race cowboy, William Granstaff, who prospected and ran cattle here in the late 1870's. I hiked the trail to this canyon a short distance while here for Moab Plein Air, but the painting I started never went anywhere.
I actually did bring my plein air gear along on this trip, both my French easel, and my hiking get-up, just because I really wanted to paint on location while we were here. Despite hiking about 8 miles total on Wednesday in both Negro Bill and Hunter Canyons, paintings didn't happen: needing to sit to paint definitely limits one's options. So, I got many photos, and will do a quick mini-series of studio "spring in Moab" paintings, starting with this one. Best of all, I scouted some brand-new locations for painting at this year's Moab Plein Air, which I am planning on attending.
Wednesday's weather was ideal for hiking - sunny and no wind. Thursday we'd planned to spend the day on another long hike up Courthouse Wash, which leads into Arches NP. Thursday morning, however, the sky was overcast and temperatures were actually chilly and not inviting for a hike, so we decided to drive up to Dead Horse State Park and check that out. Nice views, but not so much in those conditions for taking photos, and it's not a location I'd probably ever choose to paint.
Eventually, the cloud cover broke, and we did do a hike up Courthouse Wash. Remarkably, we didn't see another soul during our 6-mile hike along this trail. As is always the case on hikes, I'm constantly assessing the painting potential, including both logistics of getting there with gear, as well as suitability for a successful painting.
As is usually the case, the best photos I save to share here, and others become reference for paintings. Sometimes, there is cross-over, but not so much in this case:
|Beautiful red paintbrush along the trail|
|Another fork along Negro Bill|
|Slickrock puddle reflections in Hunter Canyon|
|A view of the meandering Colorado from Dead Horse Point|
|Wild turkey hens near the Courthouse Wash trailhead|
|Hiking on Courthouse Wash trail|
|Sandstone boulder pile|
|Along the edge of the trail|