Friday, April 23, 2010

Landscape Arch

Painting 1.17, Landscape Arch, Utah. Thanks to being snowed in for the weekend I finished this on a huge 24x48" canvas. This painting was based on a picture that I had taken while visiting Arches National Park the previous year. What I noticed while looking at the picture was that it was taken from a position much closer to the arch than all of the other pictures that I had painted to that point. This meant that I could see very well the texture in the sandstone. So, as I started to paint in much the same way as I had been before, I felt the need to express some of that texture in the color of the sandstone. The other contributing factor was that I had just bought a new tube of red paint and its color was a bit off so I was continuously adding hints of yellow and brown after it was already on the canvas. The result was a much more "informative" surface to the sandstone. By informative I mean that the three dimensional qualities of the scene are not only conveyed by the location of shadows but also hopefully by the variation in tone of the light areas.

I was pleased with the result and felt that it looked less "cartoon-y", but this particular scene has raised a new issue. The actual "landscape arch" stretches over a hill covered in lush (for the desert) vegetation. I made the choice to eliminate the vegetation to preserve the simple shapes and not distract from the shadow of the arch span. A twisted juniper is the epitome of desert life, supplying nutrients to only its most sun-bathed branches and killing off the branches that are a waste of resources. I would love to depict these along side these arches, but that will have to wait for another painting.

Giclee Print

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