Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Canyon de Chelly, Part 1.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018_Saturday, 17th February; Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Winter Canyonlight”
(Canyon de Chelly, Arizona)
Oil Sketch on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel
5” x 7”

Note that I have added a paragraph about seeing the Zodiacal Light for the first time towards the bottom of my last post about Chaco Canyon.

(Take Note: for those of you who have signed up to be notified by email of new postings to this blog, you have been receiving not just a notification, but an actual copy of the new blog posting as the email.  As this does not show the images of the paintings in the best possible light, you should click on the title of the latest blog posting at the top of the post, and not the title of the painting itself; this will open up the actual blog itself, and you may then enjoy the paintings at their best.)

Whereas Chaco Canyon, Hovenweep and even Mesa Verde are all about the architectural ruins, Canyon de Chelly is all about the landscape.  Oh there are Ancestral Puebloan ruins such as the White House, alright, but they are almost incidental to the grandeur of the landscape.  I was not prepared for this, even though I had seen photographs, and even paintings of these canyons, the reality was much more astonishing!  I came expecting more ruins, but what I got was magnificent canyonscapes!!  And the low slanting light of Winter brings out the colours of these thousand foot canyon walls to the fore.  Even though you are seeing these canyons from the many viewpoints along the rim, these views are stupendous.

Canyon del Muerto … the north rim of
Canyon de Chelly, National Monument.

Close up of Antelope House.

I believe that is Black Mesa on the horizon.

Mummy House Ruin, Canyon del Muerto.

A closer view.

I arrived at the campground late in the day, with rain in the offing, and just managed to settle in for the night before the wind and rain really came on.  The next day the rain was off to the east, but it looked like the overcast was going to make for a bland light in which to take in the Canyon; I was still thinking in terms of light and shadows on ruins.  As it turned out, with the cloud came the sunlight trying to break through, and this made for wonderful lighting effects all day long.  The Canyon is so large that there was always something to view and/or photograph without having to wait for clouds to move … I only had one twenty minute waiting period, for the Sun to appear, all day.

Living on the Edge.

Sadly, a guided jeep, or horseback tour along the Canyon floor, was beyond my budget ... perhaps some future visit.  It would be nice to see these canyon walls from below, like I got a taste of when hiking to the White House.  I would also have to choose a sunny day, for the right lighting … Autumn would be ideal, when the Cottonwoods were glowing golden.  Part 2 of Canyon de Chelly will continue after an interlude in the Ponderosas, in the next posting of the blog.

Near Spider Rock.

Spider Rock ... the farthest point
on the south rim of Canyon de Chelly.

The White House is in the alcove
in the center of the photo.

A closer view of the White House
from the same vantage point.

The Pigments used in the painting:

Imprimatura: W&N Venetian Red & Rublev Ercolano Red;

Drawing: W&N Ultramarine Deep Blue & Rublev Purple Ochre;

Pigments: W&N: Cerulean, Cobalt and Ultramarine Deep Blues, Cadmium Orange;

Blockx: Ivory Black;

Rublev: Ercolano Red, Purple Ochre, Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Orange Molybdate & Lead White #2.

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