Most of the year, Dry Creek is, as its name suggests, dry. But if we have some good snowfall up in the red rock hills around Sedona, snowmelt will fill it to the brim. We've had a couple of storms this month, and all the creeks and streams are up. Last week, while working on my winter series of tree studies, I wanted to do a larger piece along Dry Creek, featuring some of the beautifully sculpted junipers along its banks, and to include some water, as well.
|Saba on alert|
Trina went off on a long hike, and Saba stuck with me. Once I'd found my spot off the trail, I set Saba out to monitor the perimeter. She found lots to keep her interested, and I don't think she napped a minute. I found my own subject of interest - a dead juniper snag on the other side of the water with an interesting play of backlight and shadow. I also found the water rather engaging; shafts of sunlight were plunging through it to the bottom, and the sunspots glowed with a warm, orange light. But that ultimately became a distraction for me.
|Working the trees|
But I didn't do that. I was backed up against some brush and couldn't get back far enough. So, not only did I bring in that nice juniper snag but also those terribly enchanting sunspots in the water as well.
|Close-up of palette and brushes|
The sunspots competed for attention. I spent another two hours on the water but finally scraped it down and rubbed it out with mineral spirits. But what I got was a nice, soft body of water with subtle reflections. This ghost image worked so much better!
Ultimately, while "orchestrating" the painting (that is Albert Handell's term), I decided the water needed one point of interest, so I added a rock plus a few other points of light to pull the eye through the painting. By the way, I didn't have a good photo of a rock, so I used the wi-fi, which reaches out to my studio, and my Kindle Fire HD to find one, and that became the model. Here's the finished piece.
|Dry Creek Sentinel, 30x24, oil|