Monday, August 13, 2012

Morning in the Badlands

Leaving the Badlands 24x18 pastel, copyright 2012

There is still plenty of inspiration to be had in my vacation photos from out west.  Badlands National Park is a fascinating place where rolling hills suddenly give way to colorful, fast eroding formations that drop off just as suddenly to the rolling hills of a river valley.  The entire formation is only a few miles wide, which surprised me.  The surrounding hills are covered in blue-gray buffalo grass that is slowly being replaced by a yellow blooming clover imported from Europe.  A very dramatic storm the night before left lingering clouds in the morning.

I experimented a bit with this one.  It's a pretty large format for me and I wasn't sure how to cover up all the pastelboard.  Turning the pastel sticks on their sides, making large patched of color worked pretty well and coincidentally excellent marks for the rock formations.  The hills and sky took a little more work though and at one point I almost gave up on it.  Instead I left it to sit for about a month before finally pulling it out again a week ago.  A focal point for the clouds and higher contrast in the foreground hills created a far more interesting landscape.

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