Out in the desert Southwest, you'd think you might not find much water to paint. But here on the Mogollon Rim at 4300 feet, we've got plenty of water. Just today, I drove by the fish hatchery at Page Springs and the wineries that make their home along Oak Creek. You can't hatch fish or grow grapes without water! Right now, the snow upstream near Flagstaff is still deep and hasn't started to melt. But with this warm weather, it will. Locals are keeping their sandbags ready.
A couple of days ago, I was down in Cornville by Spring Creek. That's just south of Sedona. The creek has quieted down since the floods of a couple of weeks ago, but there's still plenty of water in it. I turned my back to what I call the "grand staircase" of falls and found the calm scene I depicted above. Part of what drew my eye was the intense, golden illumination of the creek bottom. You can't see that when the water is churning; it has to be calm water. To paint this, I laid in a wash of Cadmium Yellow Deep plus Alizarin Crimson for the sunlit portion of the bottom, and then I cooled down parts of it with a light pink mixture made of White and Cadmium Red. After adding the surface effects - reflections, ripples - I added a touch of pure Cadmium Yellow Deep where the illumination was most intense.