Red Rock Canyon, My Inspiration

Yesterday I started my new small works series. Red Rock Canyon in Nevada holds an enormous amount of inspiration for me. I love the way the colors move together and everyday the light is different. The weather varies as well and this makes for interesting hikes. I stop to sketch or take photos while my dog runs between my husband and myself trying to keep our pack together. He is a herding dog and loves to do his job. I decided on Red Rock Canyon for my next series to share my love of the desert with all of you.

Number 1 in the series is a burro. This burro came up to us on the trail and kept it’s distance. It ate, frolicked, and enjoyed the time in its habitat. We respectfully stood still and told our dog to “just watch” as that is his command for not disturbing nature. He sits and stares at burros, deer, and wildlife without barking. He is a pretty awesome companion. I tried to capture the gentleness of the burro and the softness of the moment we all shared.

Number 2 is a painting of a Juniper Tree. I chose to paint a section of the cones and tried to make the tree more subtle. I added light and shadow to emphasize the cones. Juniper berries are actually cones and I find this very interesting. This tree is one of my favorites to paint for the texture, color differences, and variants of light.

I love sitting in the desert with my little sketchbooks and watercolors. I focus on objects that I wish to paint later. The next painting in the series will be a more detailed piece on the barrel cactus. While I am outside, I try to do quick sketches and paint washes just to remember the color and emotion I felt while I was there. Then when I return home, I sit down and create pieces with a lot more detail. Life is all in the details after all. I hope you all enjoy this series, the blogs about it, and the walk with me in nature through these paintings.

-Karen Hilliard