Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Valley of the Gods - plein air, pastel, Utah trip wrap-up

After sitting in my studio for over 2 months, I finally sat down and finished another plein air piece from our Utah trip in May.

Morning Shadows, Valley of the Gods - plein air, 12x24"
diptych, pastel on black cardstock
© S.Johnson
I actually got the majority of this finished on location, and was reminded why I really prefer to finish the piece to completion on location:  I tend to get too fussy back in my studio, and then it takes 2x as long to do the last 25% as it did to do the first 3/4 of the painting.

Anyway, it is done.   I do have another unfinished piece from our campground in Torrey, but I'm not sure I'll finish it, and quite frankly, it can't top this one.

I sat to paint this one.
Photos from our drive on the second-to-last-day of the trip, from Capital Reef down to White Canyon.  We left the gale-force winds and unpleasantly cold temperatures in Torrey, and were rewarded with beautiful, gradually clearing skies and warmer temperatures as we headed east and south:

East along Hwy 24, towards the San Rafael Reef

Factory Butte, Hwy 24

Henry Mountains, along Hwy 95, south of Hanksville

Wash and sandstone canyon

Lake Powell

Approaching White Canyon along Hwy 95


  1. The colors in this are great. I really like the contrast of the gray stones in the foreground with the red mesas.

  2. This is so beautiful, Sonya. The gray rocks in the foreground really highlight the gorgeous landscape colors. Excellent work, my friend!

  3. Very beautiful. Love the landscape photos too.

  4. Beautiful landscape -- and I LOVE the clouds and that bright blue sky.

  5. I love the painting Sonya. :) Your clouds are always so perfectly painted, with so much expression.

  6. Thank you all so much for stopping by for your lovely comments! It was hard to go wrong painting in such a beautiful place. I can't wait to get back there.

  7. And yet you will top this one in a few days when the smoke clears. I have no doubt. As always I'm so glad you're out there. Your work--snaps as well as paintings is amazing.

  8. Sonya, your colors look so very dense and effortless-- I LOVE everything you've posted lately!! The tree by the river especially.

  9. Hiya William - so good to hear from you! I'm glad you enjoyed both art and photos, and thank you for your vote of confidence in my work.

    Hi Diane - wonderful to hear from you as well! Thank you for your kind words, and it's always nice to hear one's work looks "effortless", even though it never is ;).


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

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