"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Southwest Dawn

"Southwest Dawn," 14 1/2" x 21 1/2", 300 lb. d'Arches cold press paper
Out where I grew up, you can almost see forever. The American Southwest is a land of far horizons and vistas, of every changing colors and light...where humans are small.
I've tried capturing that spirit many times, but only on a small scale, not quite fitting the vastness of the dramatic landscape. 
I'm not really set up at home to paint  large paintings, but that is also an excuse, because they intimidate me and I get up tight rather than letting the freedom of looseness that makes watercolor so much fun. 
So today, after studies, and sketches, and spreading out a table to paint on, and shutting the door to keep the cats out, I tried again.
"Out here is the sky," is my mantra, because in the West and Great Plains it adds to the vastness, the drama, the color of the Southwest, and affects my painting. 
My palette today
I'm stumped on a title, even with a small Navajo hogan that I've featured before, and I love painting dawn and sunset subjects because they include so much color...color we especially need in these months of pandemic pandemonium and political craziness. 
This is a half sheet...roughly 15" by 22", and it required a big palette. I used a 14" by 18"  porcelain butcher's tray to get plenty of color ahead of time, with a fairly limited palette of color, as you can see.

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