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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Backside of Zion National Park - a pastel painting in progress

I have always been intrigued by geological formations. As you drive out of Zion, you come out up high on the otherside of the cliffs. The rock swirls and folds and domes are here and there. I begin with some sketches and decide to narrow the large peak and simplify some of the foreground. I love the peach colored La Carte paper for the red rock landscapes this area. Next, an underpainting with the shadows in blue-grey. Then I begin to put in contours of the swirling rock shapes. Technically speaking, we painters are not supposed to use lines! But I don't know how else to depict the flow of the layers or rock, and that is what makes this picture different from other rocky mountain landscapes. So, I'll just have to bend the rules until an artist aficionado gives me an alternative! Next, I add some medium values and dull highlights for the sunlit areas - for now. I like to do a clear blue sky in dabs of multiple blue colors. It looks spotty now, but with more and more added, the sky will fill in and look luminous instead of flat and dull.

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