Friday, March 25, 2011

Two Views of Dry Creek

Dry Creek, as the name would suggest, is dry.  But in winter and early spring, with enough snowmelt from the hills around Sedona, Dry Creek can be quite wet.  I like to clamber down among its boulders and sycamores to paint the pools of water.  It doesn't matter if the water is tranquil and restricted to isolated pools or rushing like a river; so long as it has water, it still draws me.

This winter, even though we haven't had a great deal of snow or rain, there's been enough somewhere up in the hills and along the Mogollon Rim to feed Dry Creek.  I've had several opportunities to paint it.  Here is one scene I did as part of the Plein Air Southwest event in March.  A little snow still remained in the shadows.

Dry Creek in Winter, 9x12, oil

Here is another that I did yesterday.  The snow is all gone, and we are into spring.  This is the part of the creek near the historic Van Deren cabin off the Vultee Arch Road.  A great shelf of red sandstone lies revealed by centuries of spring snowmelt and summer monsoons.  You can walk for some distance along the shelf.

Dry Creek in Spring, 12x9, pastel

I might mention that this is not my usual pastel surface.  It's a piece of Gatorfoam with a layer of Liquitex Clear Gesso applied to it.  The gel has some grit to it, and Liquitex says it's good for both oil and pastel.  I found it didn't hold the hard pastels very well, but worked fine with my softest ones.  When working in a small format, such as this one, it gives a loose, impressionistic feeling to the marks.  (Thanks to Tony Donovan for the sample!)

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