Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Arches National Park 2

Painting 1.8, Arches NP. One of the reasons that I am so fascinated by desert landscapes is the visible stratification. In a place like Arches, the rock that you are standing on is generally the oldest, while what you see when you look up is the newest. This seems counter-intuitive in a very compelling way and I'm always trying to express that fascination by exaggerating the divisions in the rock. What I realized one day was that aside from the basics, I had no idea how these rocks were formed. After checking out some books on the geology of Utah I learned a number of things that have begun to change the way that I approach painting landscapes like the one above. If I were to redo this painting now, the color differences would be much less pronounced. The main types of sandstone that you see in Arches are Navajo Sandstone, which has a light buff color and Entrada Sandstone, which has a rusty red color. Also, unlike what you'll notice when gazing at the famous views in the grand canyon, the lines of stratification do not all run parallel to one another in Arches. The process of bulging salt domes and eventual collapse have left the rocks in arches oriented in every which way. This same process is responsible for the very presence of conditions suitable for the formation of the arches. To ignore these facts is to miss the essence of Arches NP and the surrounding area.

Giclee Print

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