tags: southwestern landscape painting - pastel painting - original art - 9x12 - Canyonlands NP - southern Utah
Wingate Colors Against a Turquoise Sky
pastel on Wallis sanded paper
Based on a photo taken from our trip to Canyonlands National Park last October, this depicts the arcing cliffs of wingate sandstone that line the canyon and road leading towards the park. The amazing array of colors found on the eroded face of this rock result from both the mineral composition of the sandstone itself, as well a biochemical process with manganese oxide, water and bacteria to form the deep purple-grays of desert varnish. The fissures and fracture lines form a series of abstract shapes that always appeal to my aesthetics.
I couldn't resist a turquoise sky for this piece, although it doesn't photograph as well as I'd hoped. Cirrus clouds were added as a diagonal thrust to balance the curves of the sandstone. Chamisa (Chrysothamnus sp., aka Rabbitbrush), sage and juniper make up some of the foreground botanicals.
For this piece, I pulled out some tube watercolors I bought for sketching and did an underpainting to block in basic shapes over a loose graphite drawing, with none of the original underpainting showing through: