|Painting at Palatki|
This time, in advance of a predicted cold front moving in with rain and snow, we headed out for a more local trip. There's much to explore just outside of Sedona.
|Forest Road 119|
We crossed a bridge with some interesting, exposed red rock and running water. We went down to explore, and I came across what appeared to be a miniature version of crop circles, only made in rock. Three sets of these on one side of the creek and three sets on the other side indicated the foundation of a bridge that must have washed out long ago. I love finding odd things like this when I'm poking around for a painting spot - it makes for a much richer experience.
But we preferred a vista, so we headed south on this primitive road to Camp Verde and then went back north on I-17. As fate would have it, we ended up finding a good spot to paint not far from where we started by Red Tank Draw. We'd gotten a late start that day, so we decided to camp here as well. The sky was grey and leaden, and the light, absolutely flat. But we made the best of the view and did a little painting before sundown. (We are fast approaching the shortest day of the year.) Afterward, we cooked up a couple of cornish game hens for dinner, accompanied by a little merlot. Later, I poked my head out the door before bed and saw stars overhead, so I thought the weather might be better than predicted the next day.
|Evening Toward Rarick Canyon 9x12 oil - $700 framed, includes shipping|
After breakfast and coffee, we drove over to Sedona, heading down Boynton Canyon Pass toward Palatki. Palatki is an archaeological site complete with cliff dwellings left by the ancient Sinagua peoples. You can feel their spirits when you stand amongst the hills painting. Their spirits didn't help me much, though, because I ended up scraping both a 9x12 and a 5x7. I did get one 9x12 I was very happy with, though.
|Sacred Space - 9x12 oil - $700 framed, includes shipping|
We liked this area so much that we went farther in and toward the other Sinagua site (Honanki). The road, however, got narrower and rougher. It was also all red clay, and if the rain came during the night as predicted, we would have a time coming out. So, we got onto a better forest road and slowly made out way back so we wouldn't be so far from the paved highway. We found the perfect hilltop camping spot with a 360 degree view.
|Sunset Over Mingus - 9x12 oil - $700 framed, includes shipping|
Before bed, I stepped out again to check the sky, and I saw no stars. I woke in the morning to rain drumming on the roof. That spelled an end to our adventure, but I'd gotten out of it three nice paintings plus some excellent conversation.
By the way, for this trip, I changed my palette. Although I teach and use the traditional split-primary palette for oil, it is always a struggle to make color harmonious. Because I wanted a more relaxing trip, I used just yellow ochre, burnt sienna and Prussian blue (plus white, of course.) You can't go wrong in color harmony with this palette. The two earth colors are naturally muted, and the Prussian blue greys down nicely with them. To be honest, though, for the one sunset painting, the yellow ochre just wasn't intense enough, so I added a tiny bit of cadmium yellow light to the halo around the sun.