Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rocks, sky and sagebrush - plein air in pastel

A minimalist piece, of sorts, from this afternoon [edit:  re-done version posted on 5/18]*
Skyward Sagebrush - plein air
12x12 inches, pastel on brown cardstock

Finally, some time to get out and paint.  Between the odd storm weather that moved in for the better part of last week, followed by visiting relatives, my plans to get out and paint had to be put on hold until today.

We took Wayne's parents, who live in Phoenix, up to the cool 9,000' mining town of Silverton for a good part of the day.  After we got back, I grabbed my gear and beat it out to Santa Rita Park to at least get something done in the way of filling a sheet of paper in with pastel.

Sort of reminiscent of the recent painting done in Utah, this features a rock outcropping and sagebrush. It's along a dirt trail that heads off of the Animas River Trail a few hundred meters past the park and skirts the Animas river to the east and above.  I looked up to the top of the rock outcropping, saw these, and knew instantly that I had to paint them.

*I normally don't offer up critiques and/or point out shortcomings in my paintings here on the blog.  However, in this case I feel compelled to point out that the clouds bother me.  They are always a challenge to paint on location as they are in constant flux, and I'm always fighting to keep them from looking contrived, or just plain funky.  I knew I wanted them to come from the upper right to balance the elements in the lower left, but they aren't working for me.  Too lacy, too convoluted - I'm not sure.  I do know that I want to, er...need to, to rework them.  Simplify, simplify!

From the Silverton trip:

A bighorn sheep yearling along Hwy 550, curious but unafraid
of me and the camera

Andrews Lake
Wayne and his parentals in Silverton, because I do occasionally
take photos of people!


  1. The Andrews Lake photo is incredible! I am sure it will inspire a painting.

  2. Love the shots of sheep - great!

  3. I saw the little thumbnail of this piece on FB, and it really caught my eye, Sonya. I think your composition is stunning! Love the pics, too. So much beautiful scenery!

  4. Thanks so much for your comments, ladies - I appreciate them! Darla - I'm glad you like the unique composition of this; I did end up re-doing the clouds and I think works better.


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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