Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Drive across Sheep Mountains

"West of the Sheep Mountains"
7" x 11"
Original Watercolor

Last weekend my husband and I drove across the Sheep Mountain range just north of Las Vegas. The wildflower updates on desertusa.com reported spectacular blooms up on this range and the reports were right. This is a scene near Corn Creek Field Station at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. The creosote bushes were in full bloom and their yellows next to the delicate blues and lavendars of the mountains were irresistible for painting.

We took 7 hours to drive across this range on the Mormon Pass Road mainly because we stop so often to sketch or photograph. The beavertail and hedge hog cactus were blooming in the foothills and up higher the yuccas were putting on a show. But the best color was on the east side of the range where the fields of marigolds, larkspur and globe mallow stretched for miles. We even found claret cup cactus glowing with flowers on the rock walls of Peek-A-Boo Canyon. It was a wonderful spring day in the Mojave Desert.


  1. This is so beautiful. I love it.

  2. You've really captured the desert feeling. The colors are perfect and, together with the composition, makes a beautiful painting.

  3. Thank-you Doris and Jean,
    The desert southwest is beautiful in its own unique way. I'm fortunate to be able to paint it everyday. This composition is a simple one. By dividing the picture plane in half horizontally I was taking a risk but it works because the grouping of old trees and shrubs breaks the dividing line.

    I actually painted a little 5"x7" watercolor study before this one. I had made the background colors on the mountains a value or two too dark and so didn't get that far away affect. So with this one I was able to make the adjustment and get that distance I needed.


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