Friday, April 20, 2007

"Crocodile Rock"

I went to Joshua Tree National Park last weekend for a quick camping trip with my best buddy. We camped at Jumbo Rocks and did some bouldering and general hiking around the west end of the park. I did a small plein air study the first evening from the camp site, and it was a lot of fun, but it was mostly color notation. But I did take lots of photos, as the park has some magnificent geologic formations. I think it's really fascinating how the human brain is hardwired to see symbols and objects, like saints in tortillas, and animals in clouds, for example. I found I started seeing some neat things in the rocks when I really began to look. It's an interesting exercise to just pay attention, and then to see how the mind can make the boulders "become" symbols which are visible at certain angles, and as one moves around or away from them, disappear as the contours and light and shadow change one's perspective. I was charmed, and I thought it would be fun to use the effect to do a series of studies of the rock and boulder formations. All the paintings are of actual formations, and though the colors are tweaked just a bit for more visual interest, they are all there to some extent. If you go to Joshua Tree you may stumble upon these "creatures" yourself. I'm sure they aren't going anywhere for another few hundred thousand years or so at least.
This is the second study I did since I got back, the first needs a bit more work. This is a 6"x8" oil on canvas.

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