Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mesa Verde

Painting 1.24, Mesa Verde, Square Tower. I enjoy using cliff dwellings as a subject because they provide a point of interest that is small in comparison to a natural feature like an arch. This gives me a chance to paint a small detailed portion of a cliff wall. Painting a cliff dwelling also usually means that there will be no sky in the picture which I think makes the paintings feel more abstract because the viewer only sees shadows on rock and can only guess where the light is coming from or what time of day it is. The light here could be from a sunrise or a sunset or it might even be night and the walls are illuminated by firelight. The sky doesn't usually play a big part in the pictures that I paint except to act as a smooth gradient in contrast to the jagged and absolute shading on the rocks.

Another note on the subject in this painting: while it is very likely that these structures were built using stone similar to the stone on which they were built it was important to me that the two surfaces look different in the painting. Almost as if the life had been drained from the stone when it was hewn into blocks for use in building houses. It is easy to think of Anasazi structures like this as being part of the natural landscape because both the buildings and the landscape were around long before we ever where. However, my interest in this area is not archaeological but geological and these structures are just man made objects deposited in the landscape.

Giclee Print

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