I’ve recently completed several pieces based on a few of the lakes east of Phoenix, as well as the Lower Salt River (also east of Phoenix). All are based on photos taken and sketches made of various locations I’ve visited while kayaking. The first group of three is a pencil drawing, pastel and oil painting of the Lower Salt River — my goal with these pieces was to give a feeling of the warmth of the midday Arizona sun, in contrast with the cooling waters of the river.

The next three includes a pencil drawing, pastel and oil painting of an imagined view of the Lower Salt River facing west at twilight — although it’s an imagined composition and color palette, it’s based on photos and sketches of spots I’ve visited in person. My goal with these pieces was to give a feeling of the quiet, peaceful tranquility of the river just after sunset.The next group is a series of small 8x10 paintings

Next is a series of small 8x10 paintings of Saguaro Lake and Bartlet Lake. The first is a view of Saguaro Lake at sunrise, based on a photo I took on a kayak camping trip to Bagley Flat campground, which is boat access only. I was trying to capture the peaceful morning I experienced that day, in contrast with the splendor of the sun rising over the mountain in the distance. The next two pieces are of Bartlett Lake — the first is a view at dawn, and uses a simpler, more graphic composition and limited color palette. The second is a view at Dusk, which has a slightly more traditional treatment, although it uses an imagined color scheme that I was trying to keep on the bright side. All three paintings are based on photos I’ve taken of these two very special lakes from my kayak, and I was hoping the capture the ruggedness of the cliffs in contrast with the serenity of the water.

The last piece is an imagined view of Saguaro Lake, again based on photos I’ve taken from my kayak. It features two purple cliffs in the foreground, blue green water and blue mountain in the background, all contrasted with a bright yellow sky above. Obviously utilizing an imagined color palette, I’ve creatively titled this piece “Yellow Sky”. I wanted to push the colors past what could be found in nature, and I will most likely do more pieces like this in the future that feature made up color schemes, and use the landscape as the subject but are more about the color relationships in the painting.

All of these pieces except for the pencil drawings and Yellow Sky painting were in the WATER show at the Fearless Art Works gallery. I’ll likely do more pieces in this series, and will post pics of them as I get them done.

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