I'm in the middle of moving a house packed full of stuff from the basement to the top floor, from Minnesota to Arizona. Now I remember why I never wanted to have to move again....Hmmmm. But, it's all worth it to be moving toward something as great as living in the West. I won't have to jump on an airplane in order to paint the mountains anymore. Now I can slip out my back door and I'm there. Within a couple of hours to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Phoenix and Flagstaff. Within driving distance to....Canyon de Chelly! Not to mention my Gallery. Several lifetimes worth of painting material right in my back yard. I'm feeling so blessed right now....I just have to get through the MOVE!!
But I have a spare moment, so I wanted to post the rest of my Canyon de Chelly paintings. The painting above is of Spider Rock or Tsi na ash jeii, probably the most well known and easily recognizable of the rock formations at the Canyon. This rock spire is 800 feet tall, so you can see that the vantage point is above the spire and is probably over 1000 feet. According to Navajo legend, atop Spider Rock lives Spider Woman, a deity who taught Navajo women to weave. She's also believed, by the Navajo, to carry naughty children to the top of Spider Rock.
The way to do a painting with quick moving light, such as this, is to lock in the shadows quickly (no details), and leave them. Do not try to follow the light. If you get your values down quickly, the whole time checking them against one another, you will have enough information to add the details later if you need to. Even if you have to do it in the studio later, you can, as long as your values are accurate. For this painting, I had plenty of time to do it all on site. Partly because the arc of the sun is relatively low across the sky in Northern Arizona, so when it gets close to setting, it does it more slowly than I'm used to. Which is a blessing.
My friend Rusty Jones and I, sat down to paint this on a rather windy evening. Rusty is an incredibly talented plein air painter and all around good guy. I truly believe that in the two hours we took to paint at this site, the temps dropped twenty degrees. I've painted in a lot of cold weather since I live here in Minnesota, but I have to say that I have never been colder than I was when I painted this one. I wasn't dressed for it in just a t-shirt. Luckily I had a wind breaker in my back pack, cause if I hadn't I don't think I'd have been able to finish it.
Tsegi Overlook, 11X14, oil/Canvas Panel