I managed to do 9 paintings (10 if you include a diptych I did yesterday as two paintings...) on the trip. I'd actually hoped to do more, but between lots of hiking and extreme wind conditions that made painting outside a complete deal-breaker, this was as good as it got. Which was unfortunate, because those were often locations I found amazing areas to paint.
Anyway, the paintings were done, with a few exceptions, pretty much near where we ended up boondock camping. I did bring my painting gear on 3 hikes, but time became an issue, so that didn't work out.
Most of the paintings weren't finished on location, usually because of time and/or weather restraints. I'm hardly a purist in terms of what is considered a "plein air" painting, regardless of how much of it was completed on location. I'm a landscape painter, plain and simple. Studio or on location - it's the end result that matters, not the process.
Not including the informal evening strolls around the campsites, we hiked about 45 miles, most of it through unassuming canyons in remote wilderness areas, seldom seeing other people.
I ended up with 700 photos, encompassing all of my favorite subjects: wildflowers, butterflies, canyons large and small, and the ever-changing landscape of the Colorado Plateau itself along the loop we drove.
I will break the trip up into segments, to include both paintings, and photos grouped by theme rather than timeline. This also gives me time to actually bring the rest of the paintings to completion.
Painting from day 1, along a very scenic wash located in the Paria River valley (and site of Old Pareah Townsite - now a ghost town), in the heart of the Grand Staircase National Monument. It was also the location for a few movies, including the Clint Eastwood classic "The Outlaw Josey Wales". I suffered through an onslaught of No-see-um bites to paint this, but I was determined to finish despite that:
|Afternoon Light Along the Wash - 12x12|
pastel on brown cardstock
And, I thought to take some photos of my various plein air set-ups, so here's the one I used for this painting:
I just hold the piece of foamboard in my lap to paint in this situation. The small stool - from Walmart - is lightweight and has its own carrying sleeve. Unfortunately, it's not as durable as I'd have hoped for, and is already starting to split along the sections where the seat edges are...sigh...but, I should be able to repair it with some more durable fabric.
The next morning, I got up and whipped out a quick painting before breakfast, using the same get-up as above. A small hill of pale white rock had some intriguing shadows cast, along with several small junipers. The strata of the shadowed cliff in the background made for an interesting contrast. It's not much to write home about, but I enjoyed the process nonetheless:
|Morning in the Paria River Valley - 8.5x11"|
pastel on maroon cardstock
I had Wayne take a picture of me at the painting location (painting unfinished), which was close to 2 miles down the river:
You can see the 2 boxes of pastels in the daypack there, and while Wayne carried the small folding tray for me, it's really lightweight and easy to carry, and I usually just carry it myself.
Here's what I attempted to paint:
|Paria river bend|
Photos from the area and along the road leading back to Hwy 89:
|The most colorful example of Chinle formation ("Painted Desert") I've ever seen!|
It was really this saturated and colorful, and we were camped about 40' from the base of it.
|Folds in the Chinle slopes as the sun sets|
|sunset across the distal cliffs near the Paria river. You can see the small|
pale slope I painted the next morning in the middle there
|along the Paria river wash towards the "box" area|
|the view to the west|
|the wash - in morning light|
|pano of the cliffs and colorful slopes on the drive out|
|looking north up the Staircase near Hwy 89; domes of white Navajo sandstone are visible in the distance|
Next: Day 3 & 4: Zion National Park