Friday, April 17, 2009

The New Challenge

Probably the next hardest thing to paint beyond a hole in rock is a tower of rock in the middle of a flat plain. Actually there is more to Shiprock than just this tower. There is a long ridge that runs out both directions. But to show that then you paint it from a direction other than the one most people are familiar with.

Still I have wanted to paint this landmark in the northwest corner of New Mexico for a while now. I have the canvas for it. I have been thinking dutifully about the sketch. So easy to just copy its all too familiar profile. But it hit me as I was driving back from my sister's house that what probably is the most striking thing about Shiprock is the nothingness around it. Here in the middle of nowhere is the pinnacle of rock rising up out of the Colorado plateau.

That and the sky that surrounds it.

So that will be my painting.

The emptiness that is Shiprock. And the vastness of the land.


  1. lm sure you can make it strong and majestic in the middle of flat ground.
    l still love the red rock with the indian town? at the bottom...
    lf l had, l would buy that one, or a copy of it.
    and the one u have as your header here is fantastic...two of my favourites...
    good luck on the new one.
    looking forward to the finished result.
    have a great week jacqui...

  2. So, this is the famous Ship Rock.
    What's wrong with me? I see people rather
    than the masts of a ship, although I do
    see a "bowline" down below.
    Those low mounds, are they just topographical or are they burial mounds?

  3. I share with you an enormous love of this area, its vastness that quite often unsettles the European travels more used to landmarks that are manmade rather than always looking to the mountains for one's sense of direction. There are many things so striking about an environment filled up with mesa mountains of clay rich soil that spreads into Steppe like nothingness. However, I'm in love with the region's vast blue and often starkly cloudless skies. Happy painting!

  4. Oh, and how to display that vastness on the limits of a canvas. It is easy to zero in on a detail or some one thing that catches our eye but to translate that feeling of being at sea to a 24 x 36 inch space is the challenge.

    And I could fail.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.