This is a double award winning water color, sized 22″ by 30″ which was painted on Arches 140# cold pressed, 100% cotton rag paper.
It was painted in the studio and was based on photographs I took while walking along beautiful Oak Creek near Sedona Arizona. It’s a place I would gladly revisit every year.
At the moment of the best photo, the sun refractions made by the ripples on the water of the creek were not visible on the surface. But, they clearly showed through the crystal water and could be seen dancing on the submerged rocks below. It was as if there was no surface to the water at all!
It was only just to the right of that scene, where the water splashed over a small rapids, that the surface had visible reflections and foam. It was really a magical moment to see this and it was a significant challenge to try to capture that magical, momentary feeling.
The painting is my humble attempt to capture that amazing, etherial moment of the “sundance”.
In 2007 the DuPage Art League, Wheaton, Illinois, juried this painting into it’s exhibit, “A Place in the Sun”, and the painting was given an “Award of Special Merit”.
In 2009 this work was juried into the Red River Valley International Juried Exhibition, held at the Red River Valley Museum in Vernon, Texas, May 1 through June 19th. It was awarded the IESI Award.
Here is another watercolor painting done from images I saw while walking along Oak Creek near Sedona Arizona. This particular scene greeted me late one afternoon as the light slanted deeply across the scene. I was near the famous Red Rock Crossing area west of Sedona. Fortunately, I had my camera and was able to freeze the wonderful moment.
Most of the red rocks in the area cliffs are sandstones, but the very top edge of the canyon is capped with black and sometimes gray hardened lava. That leads to some very odd arrangements down in the creek bottoms. The red sandstone erodes quickly to sand and silt, but the hard basalt weathers to amazing rounded, pitted boulders and cobbles. In this specific case, it looked to me as if the rocks were being ‘born’ from within the red mud. In fact, I am sure that the mud covered most of the rocks when wet, and that as the mud dried and contracted, the cracks formed and the mud shrank and settled around the rocks, creating the little “volcano” shapes around each rock.
Then, as nature always does, in the midst of the dried and lifeless scene, a tiny plant found just enough moisture to grow foliage and bloom.
The painting is done in transparent watercolors on 15″ by 20″ Arches 140# cold pressed rag paper.
Although it is somewhat an exaggeration, this scene came from an experience I had walking along Oak Creek, at Arroyo Robles Resort, in Sedona Arizona. This is one of my all time favorite places and I try to return there every year that I can. I know exactly what Zane Grey meant when he titled the book he wrote near here, “Call of the Canyon”. It calls me too, to come “home”.
At this particular time, the late afternoon light barely made it diagonally down between the two walls of the canyon and spilled across a small section of Oak Creek as I watched. It lasted just two or three minutes and was at it’s most intense for only about one minute.
I did take several reference photos, but none did this scene justice. Only by working with the images in my mind could I even come close to the amazement of the scene. What a gift to see it and to try to share!
The painting is a transparent watercolor, done on Arches 140# cold pressed 100% cotton rag paper, and sized about 13″ by 16″.
Although assembled from scenes at two places on Oak Creek near Sedona Arizona, this painting is still a true representation of many places along this wonderful river. Specifically, the lighting was experienced late one afternoon as the sun reached the top edges of the canyon in which Oak Creek runs. Things that were not in the direct sun light were dark, creating an almost moody feeling. Yet, those things still lit by the sun were aglow with a beautiful golden light so typical of late Sedona days.
The composition design process was interesting for me in that I tried to emphasize the drop in the water level as the creek backed up behind the rocks. To reinforce that feeling, I exaggerated the rock pile at the far bank, and I designed the far bank and trees on it to reflect the same curved drop in height.
While the tree trunks and rocks are carefully rendered, the grass, flowers, and water are much more expressive. In the water, this captures the dancing and flowing feeling the creek gives a viewer. I love this kind of scene so much, in part for the strong feelings I had when there, watching the light change minute by minute. I am sure I will paint other versions of this scene in the future.
This is a transparent watercolor painting done on 100% cotton rag Strathmore Gemini 300# cold pressed paper. It is 13″ by 19″.