Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red Rock Fossil Beds, a Sketch and Inspiration

I have always loved red land and rocks and spare desert landscapes and find myself still painting them...
Here is a glimmer of red rock inspiration. This on-site quick pen sketch and watercolor painting above was done on a road trip last year to Ashland, OR. We took a side trip to California where it turned out to be the hottest day, over 100 degrees. But we had a fun day anyway when we got to Lake Shasta, seeing the bluest blues and redest reds. We took a short boat trip across the lake, headed up a mountain, and walked through relatively cool Lake Shasta Caverns.
Red Rocks and Fossil Beds
The above two paintings are recent ones. These both are compositions of my imagination, a synthesis of remembered scenes from road trips, remembered pictures from countless books or documentaries, and my sense of those places. The first one is watercolors with a bit of pen (Sep2009), and the second is acrylic, entitled "Fossil Beds Revisited" (Jun2009) which I included in a July show this year. I will be "revisiting" and painting more of these. It is interesting not only to see how my interpretation has evolved over time, and also to try out different media for a subject.
The bottom painting in the above set of 3 is probably my first take on the fossil beds from a photo I had taken in the mid-90's. The first two from 1997 and 1998 are very large watercolors painted with a very loose interpretion of my photos in a more free expressionist washy style after taking a class from one of my favorite painters Jan Hart who shares a love of O'Keeffe and desert.

My inspiration comes from many road trips with some camping and backpacking to the Southwest a couple of decades ago... the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Nine Mile Canyon, to name only a few of the many places we explored. Another inspiration, which I was quite astounded to find on yet another road trip a decade ago, was almost in my own backyard (sort of), at least only one state over, in Oregon, the John Day Fossil Beds. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of my old pictures to post yet (they were pre-digital camera, if you know what I mean). But, check out my friend Lisa's blog, La Vida Artistica, in my sidebar of blogs to inspire. She shares similar inspiration in her Aug 28 posting that includes fabulous photos of this wonderful place and also details of her upcoming studio tour showcasing her spirited art.

For me the desert and red rock areas have always been those exquisite areas of beauty that get down to the bare essentials, lots of sky and horizon, and vibrant land with undulating shapes, and so metaphorical in so many ways. That sense of place with the O'Keeffe kind of feeling from the sheer grandness of it.

Sunday Meditation
Where do you get your inspiration? Have you tried expressing the same subject in more than one media?


JonesMoore said...

Well, red rocks in the desert absolutely inspire me too!! You beat me to it (painting from photos taken at John Day Fossil Beds/the Painted Hills. Now I REALLY want to explore my photos in collage and mixed media, and maybe even oil stick--I still have a bunch left from my 'landscape' days. Your paintings are lovely. Thanks for inspiring!! (and the 'heads up' to my blog)...

Janette Kearns Wilson said...

Thankyou for your visits Delorse, we have just had the most wonderful series called "Stephen Fry in America" It really made me want to go to all those places you mention.
I am going on a Field trip tomorrow with my art class, down to the docklands in a boat, I am so looking forward to it.

HeartFire said...

Lisa - And thank you again for sharing your photos, great inspiration, I'm hoping to find mine soon. I do like to revisit photos and some specific subjects, and seem to keep doing that. I know I'll do more of the "red rocks". I'll be interested to see your interpretation, every artist is so unique.

Well one of these years, maybe I'll get to come to Australia & see your Ayres Rock, would LOVE to see it and Australia in general.
I know you'll have fun on your boat trip, you'll have to blog about it, and show your art from it!