It feels so good to be walking on the rim of Dry Hollow with my easel and a backpack of pastels. I’ve allowed myself a new box of Nupastels in celebration. A fresh box is so mouth watering! It has been a long time since I’ve set my easel up as back problems have led me to do “recliner art”, which has also been fun, lying on the couch in Aphrodite (my moving studio) propped up with pillows looking out the picture window.
But today Sophy and I are enjoying the perfect temperature and breeze and the wonderful shapes and shadows in the hollow. I looked up ‘hollow’ on the internet as geographic terms tend to confound me and the definition I liked most was a hollow is like a ravine but with gentler slopes. This hollow is a wide canyon of creamy slickrock with pale orange stripes from runoffs sliding down to the canyon bottom, and an occasional surprise ochre,burnt orange, or dusky pink suffuses the slickrock. It looks molten, as if giant bakers had fun pouring thick batter down its sides.
Sophy and I walk along the edge on a flat bank of rubbly pale siena earth. Small sparse wild flowers surprise the eye, teeny spots of dense color. I have to pay attention to where on the rim I’m going to draw, a spot I’ve had my eye on for a while.. My first landmark is an old twisted juniper on the right that reminds me of a flamenco dancer with a beautifully arched back,arms raised and fingers snapping. This tree always makes me want to dance. Then there’s a large felled pinyon , weathered a silvery gray with curly branches on the left. My destination is just a few paces away. But Sophy will know the site the next time anyway and plop herself down under the shade of the nearest tree.
I tie my easel to a small fallen tree, snugly between two branches.It is so fun to be starting a large drawing after what seems like ages. And how idyllic the weather …there are even no gnats! Ravens soar lazily below me. By the time I’ve placed the shapes on the paper (they dance around a bit before settling), the shadow patterns have changed so I fill in large swathes of light and shadow. The detail will come later. The afternoon light is sweet and there’s such beauty all around me as I pack up, leaving my easel in a plastic bag with a ‘do not disturb’ written on it under a tree. Next time my load will be lighter.