Monumental. Magnificent. Magical. Lofty words woefully insufficient to describe the landscape surrounding me. Rich bands of burnt orange, pink, and yellow reveal the architecture of time, weather, and water. In the cracks and along ridge tops, feisty bands of green define contours like stripes on a zebra.
Every quarter mile or so, I pull over to take photographs until struck by two revelations. One: the professionals do it so much better; and two: at this rate I will never arrive at my destination. So I step on the gas.
An enormous mountainscape approaches on the right, filling my field of vision with granite geometry and lofty peaks. Further on, I see a blue building at the base. It is a building so blue it is having a conversation with the sky above. I want to stop, but there are no driveways, no shoulder. In a moving blur I discover the building is an old motel, boarded up, abandoned. It clings to its transitory existence in the shadow of timelessness.
I cannot look at the motel and the mountain at the same time due to our close proximity, so my head bobs up and down, in utter delight. By the time a turnaround appears, I am far down the road.
But who needs a photograph? The trio of sky, mountain, and motel made an indelible impression. The mountain takes up two thirds of the space. Proportion and presence are paramount, as is texture. Weather. Time of day.
I felt temporarily thwarted by drawing and needed to work on something big—something I could push around. I needed to paint. This piece doesn’t belong to a series; it’s not for an exhibit. It’s a loner. A one-off.
Scale was one of the most important elements.
It’s freeing to work from your head, although I did research on motels from the 60’s.
Loving the complimentary color scheme: blue/orange. Compliments are opposites on the color wheel. They “pop” when next to each other; they make a neutral gray when combined.
The ugly phase—working dark to light. Not necessary when working with acrylics, but oil painting habits die hard.
I am my worst (or best) critic. There are things I want to improve, but they are all small and I doubt anyone would notice except me. Walking away…for now.
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