Woman of the Rock

Calico Basin inside Red Rock Canyon State Park is a wonderful place to climb and hike. The trails are developed next to beautiful sandstone sculptures of amazing rock formations. Calico 1 Trail has Panty Wall with each route named by climbers to be quite humorous. Along the path to the marvelous climbs, I stumbled upon a lovely ridge of rocks. At the edge of the striations I saw a woman leaning back on the mountain for support. On her head I envisioned that she was carrying a basket of clothes, food, or water. She appeared fatigued in the hot desert sun but strong and willing to do her work. Also, she was wearing a sarong fashioned into a dress. The colors of the rock were contrasted with the background in such a pleasant way.

Woman Of The Rock • Watercolor Painting Print • Karen Hilliard Art
CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINT-> https://khilliardart.com/product/woman-of-the-rock-print/

When I got home and looked through my photographs, I knew I had to paint her. I loved the way the shadows danced with their lines and flow. Almost as if they were moving like water into the red sandstone where she was resting. I chose cool colors to show the difference between her warmth and the heat of the sun. It was fun picturing a waterfall or river coming to soothe her as she worked so she could quench her thirst. I focused on the light in this painting and tried to illuminate the spirit of the woman that I saw. What do you see in the rock? Have any of you ever been on this hike in Red Rock Canyon and seen this woman of the rock?

-Karen Hilliard

Fallen Trees in Red Rock

As we walked around in the desert and absorbed our surroundings we found some amazing sites. Mountains of sandstone, riverbeds filled with stones, and fallen trees looking of driftwood all over the paths. The bark was sculpted by the elements of time with wind and water. When I look for inspiration I find it among the trees. I am captivated by texture, lines, and holes of various shapes. Some of the movement is created by the elements and others by the decay of insects. Sometimes the image of the whole tree creates a picture in my mind and other times I see creatures in sections of the bark. I title my pieces when I am out in nature and everyone else sees something different than I do. My favorite part of life is that we all have our own perspective.

In the first picture here I see a bird with a beak looking to their left. I also see a scrunched up face of a human looking to their right. In the second photo I see so much texture I do not know where to start with the focus of the painting. The second photo is one that I could make several paintings out of just from the lines and pockets alone. What do you see in these photographs?

In these vertical photographs I see many images. The tree stump on the left looks like a creature with a large eye and wrinkled mouth. I also see a horn coming out of the creature’s head. The photograph on the right shows me a lizard, a snake, or a bird with a long neck. I follow the grains of the wood from the foreground up into the horizon line of the piece. I like the contrast of color between the trees and the rocks in both compositions. I am excited to see what my hand and paintbrush create with these. Stay tuned!

Moon Wizard” is an original painting. This watercolor measures 18″ x 24″ and is painted edge to edge. No prints were made. We found this tree on Dale’s Trail in Red Rock Canyon State Park. This trial is is off of the Pine Creek Trailhead and lies between Pine and Oak Creek.

-Karen Hilliard

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

Starting in the early morning and feeling the cool wind on our faces, we braved the chilly air and went for a hike out in the desert. The dog needed a long adventure and we love being outdoors any chance we can get. As we walked down the sandy and stony path the beautiful mountains of Red Rock Canyon stood before us. The sun was in and out of the clouds which created beautiful contrasts on the rocks. The formation’s colors changed minute by minute and it was something that could not be captured on camera. Here are some pictures we got of the color changes as best as we could catch on our phone.

Along the trail, gorgeous Joshua trees fill the paths. Spring has sprung in the desert. We found beautiful flowers blooming out of the top of the plants. We thought it was interesting how the buds were eaten before they flowered. We imagined burros coming up and eating the plants. At the base of the trees laid beaver tail cactuses, or cacti depending on where you are from, and they were eaten by what we think were tortoises. Being out in nature sparks our imagination in so many ways leading to endless conversations. What are some ideas you have when you see bite marks in plants while you are on a hike? Do you bring your pets with you and how do they react outdoors?

The dog had an amazing time running around in the sand and rocks through the wash. He had so much curiosity and the wind was very enticing for his nose. His senses were on overload and we were thrilled to arrive home and have him sleep the rest of the day. In the next blog I will share some trees we came across and explain how the lines and shapes fascinate me to paint new watercolors. Looking forward to many new paintings to share with all of you in the future. I often wonder if I will paint all my photos and ideas in my lifetime. I sure am going to try! Where have you hiked recently? Send me a message if you would like to share.

-Karen Hilliard