Friday, February 20, 2009

Desert Wash at Sandstone Quarry

"Desert Wash at Red Rock"
7" x 10"
Original Watercolor

I painted this scene a couple of weeks ago. Bill and I drove out to Sandstone Quarry one weekend morning and I set up my folding chair and small table for my palette and brushes. We were in the big wash just to the west of the Calico Hills. It is so beautiful there and I could have painted a scene in any direction from this spot. There was a 30 foot high wall of sandstone just to my left where decades of flash floods have cut away the hillside. You can see a few shrubs growing out from it on the left side of the painting. I wondered if we were in a bit of a wind tunnel because of this land feature but I decided to set up regardless and about half an hour later when I was half way through the painting the wind came through there at about 20 miles an hour. Just a strong breeze really but it blew my umbrella down five times over the next half hour. The umbrella was attached to my folding chair with a hefty bungie cord so I reached down and swung it back up each time it blew down. Eventually I just held on to it with my left hand until I was finished painting. Next time I will bring at least two bungie cords. Bill was hiking around the area taking his beautiful photographs so I didn't see him for a while. Otherwise he would have fixed the umbrella situation immediately because he's good at solving problems like that. The more tools and fasteners to use the happier he is.

One of the interesting things about these wide washes is that the scrub oak trees grow so big in them. I thought about this for a while and my theory is that the wide grey gravel areas act as a natural fire break so the trees are protected somewhat from the lightning fires that strike here several times every season. So the trees have a chance to grow old enough to get so tall and full. I"m glad they're here. They are beautiful and they are full of birds that sing and fly from one to another. It was a lovely morning.


  1. Sounds and looks like a great place. Love the painting and use of muted colors.

  2. Thanks Jean! There were actually so many details in the mountains at this viewpoint that it was a challenge to simplify them and to mute the colors.

  3. Great composition. I like it a lot.

  4. Thanks Brent! I appreciate your comment.


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