Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Complementary Colors, Moonbeams and Shadows

Virgin River, Zion Canyon III, 12"x9", oils on panel

The desert Southwest has a special appeal for many artists. As one put it, in the Rockies and Cascade Mountains (and the Smokies and Appalachia) landscape painting is dominated by greens and blues; but in northern Arizona and southern Utah landscape painters get to use their reds, oranges, yellows, and purples!

Morning Shadows, 12"x9", oils on panel

But, even amidst all the spectacle of the Southwest Zion Canyon is special. Thanks to the Virgin River, Zion Canyon is a desert oasis filled with delightful eye-catching complementary contrasts -- red/green, blue/orange, and even yellow/violet. And, because the narrow canyon runs more or less north/south its color/lighting effects are dynamic -- changing every few minutes throughout the day, and even through the nighttime hours on those nights when the moon is full.

Life on the Edge (Hanging Garden), 9"x12", oils on panel

Watchman at Sunset I, 9"x12", oils on panel

And the south Utah night sky comes as an amazing surprise for visitors who know only urban skies and the veil of light pollution that obscures all but the brightest stars and planets. Under a dark, new moon sky visitors can clearly see thousands (if not millions) of stars of all sizes and colors. But the real surprise for me came with the full moon! Before leaving home I had planned to try my hand at a nocturnal (my first the North Cascades) and had expected to produce a piece in silvers and grays. But, instead, I was amazed to find a moon so bright that I could distinguish individual leaves on the ground and colors in those areas under direct moonlight (while ink-black shadows completely hid the secret details within.) 

Shadows and Moonbeams (Under A Full Moon), 12"x9", oils on panel

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely gorgeous! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.