Sunday, April 27, 2014

Road Trip, West to East - Zion Canyon, Part 5

Falls to Lower Emerald Pool

Saturday morning dawned with steady rain.  The rain, which had begun in the night, came down hard enough to wake us.  At breakfast, fog shrouded the mountain tops, but as it parted, we saw snow at the highest elevations.  After our group critique, I proposed the idea of my doing a pastel demonstration indoors, an idea which everyone eagerly accepted.

Big Sur Coast - 9x12 pastel - color temperature study

I parked myself in front of a large window for light and pulled up a photo on my my tablet.  I decided to paint a "rehearsal" of a piece I plan to make for one of my videos; this particular video will feature oil, but I wanted to try it in pastel first, which I find easier for working out design issues.  The chosen scene was of the California coast near Big Sur, but the real subject was color temperature in the landscape.  I didn't refer to my outline as I worked, but just tried to keep in mind my focus on temperature as I talked.  It was good to go through the steps, since I discovered a compositional problem that needed resolving.  Since I ran into a problem with this one, you can bet I'll rehearse the other two videos, as well.

After lunch, the weather finally broke - or seemed to.  A glimpse of sun came out and the rain stopped.  We had heard Zion can have some great waterfalls after a storm, so we headed up the canyon on the shuttle to see if anything interesting was happening.  We're glad we did!  Trina and I hiked part of the Angel's Landing trail from the Grotto and saw a small waterfall just where the route creeps up a steep wall.  Then the showers began again, so we turned around and hiked over to the Emerald Pools.  An awesome, triple waterfall surprised us as we rounded a corner.  We headed for the lower pool, which required us to hike below and behind the noisiest waterfall.  We hugged the cliff wall to avoid the spray as the water thundered over head and cascaded among the rocks.  Although our shoes were a muddy mess, it was worth the effort.

Triple Waterfalls at Emerald Pools

We and scores of other hikers felt the effort required a break at the Zion Lodge.  We got a bottomless coffee/hot chocolate blend, which we refilled twice, and sat with the other artists and people-watched.  The canyon was surprisingly busy; we thought the rain would keep people away, but maybe they had heard about the waterfalls just as we had.

Evening was spent with saying goodbyes to some of our crew who would be leaving early Sunday morning.  Departing were Tennessee and Maine.  British Columbia had already left, shortly after breakfast and crits.  New Hampshire and Massachusetts wouldn't depart until Monday, as would we.

Sunday dawned clear and cold.  Someone reported it was 37 degrees.  After an early breakfast of oatmeal, we headed up the canyon via shuttle for one last painting expedition.  We stopped at Zion Lodge, about halfway up the canyon, where the sun hadn't quite penetrated yet.  That was good, as I always like to anticipate where the sun is going to hit and work toward it, especially in early morning canyon situations.

We hiked just past the Lodge along the river where the land opened up and gave us excellent views of Angel's Landing, the Emerald Pools waterfalls (still going strong!) and Mountain of the Sun.  I set up facing south and painted a view of the latter with the river in front.  To make sure I got the light on the mountain accurately before the shadows changed, I worked exclusively on just that feature, leaving the rest of the panel empty.  Once I'd finished blocking in the light and shadow patterns and painting in some of the warm, bounce-light on its cliffs, I worked on everything else.

Mountain of the Sun, 12x9 oil

Afterward, we hiked back to the Lodge to eat our sandwiches in the sun and to take the shuttle home.  Once back, it was time to clean up and pack.  Since we'll be traveling for a few more weeks, we had to do the laundry and repack all that stuff that we will need for workshops.  The light continued to be beautiful, and although the brushes are stowed, we still enjoyed an afternoon walk.   The last day is always sad, but we know we'll paint together again somewhere along the road.

Now we are trying to revise our route east.  We had hoped to take I-70 through Vail to Denver, but lingering snow in the Rockies and northern New Mexico may push us as far south as I-40.

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