Monday, August 17, 2009

Badlands Stripes:Western Art Alla Prima

Badlands Stripes©2009C.L.Burgess oil on wood 5 x 11"

I went into my files to find some images of the places I have driven to on my road trips to visit my son in Denver. I have many images waiting in the "to be painted file" and this was one of them. I picked it for the Following the Masters Challenge this month.
"The Badlands"area is a national park of buttes and pinnacles, that upon visiting, I found otherworldly looking in a science fiction sense. Plus the weather contributed to the aura of the unbelievable by being stormy and blue grey with chilling effects lightening adding to the hairpin turns into the lower ravine.

As an Eastern woman unfamiliar with the Western terrain, I am consistently left speechless standing in some of these wonders of the United States heartland. When you are raised within the skyscrapers and trees of the East, you only get a glimpse at the sky, unless you are at the beaches. That is one way to feel small; in front of the power of an ocean.
It is my experience, however, that humility isn't arrived at so much within city cathedrals as in the open plains and mountain valleys or standing along the ridges of canyons that leave you weak kneed.

I painted this scene at once, alla prima, after driving by and stopping to sketch it quickly before a rainstorm. I keep hoping to get the courage one of these days to try a larger studio painting of big sky country. Hard for me to do, considering Bierstadt and Moran who came before us painters today, working from watercolor sketches, camping out and saving both the country and the paintings for us to enjoy.
Until then.. this is my small contribution following their lead.

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