It’s not windy!


It’s unprecedented! I drove part way to St. George this morning, had my appointment, and drove the four hours  home, arriving around 4 o’clock. Usually I’m spent after so much driving, and wouldn’t dream of not resting, at least for a while. But the afternoon was so utterly beautiful, the light so clear, fall at it’s finest, that I decided I must go out and work on a pastel drawing, in large part too because …it wasn’t windy! Recently, the wind has not been kind to painting a large pastel on paper mounted on light foam board at a canyon’s edge. I needed to take advantage of this uncommon calm.

Day 3*
Day 3

Weeks have gone by with only a few days of being able to work on this three foot drawing and even then needing rocks in my knapsack, hung on the easel for ballast. I associate mid September onwards for several weeks with the idyllic sweet light, clarity , calm, and temperature that allows for making big paintings. Not so this year, nor I think the last, though still I waited with longing all through the hot summer for this magical time to come. So I was unusually galvanized and collected my gear and set off. I arrived at canyon’s edge and set up my easel with just an occasional breeze.

Day 5*
Day 5 

I was amazed at how different the shadows and shapes were, outcrops appearing that had been in shadow and others having disappeared into the shade. And the relationships all seemed a bit off…was it through the eyes of fatigue? Was what I was seeing now more truthful? I found my drawing to be wildly inaccurate. It’s amazing how the eye will see what it wants to, the unconscious shifting of masses to fit them on the page. I was sure that some of the changes were due to the passage of time, but the ancient rock isn’t so fickle. My eyes and desire however are. I had managed to squeeze a very long series of undulating rock formations into a space way smaller than what I was seeing now. And it had looked good too! So now I was utterly confused. Somethings needed to remain as they were, and others I changed…but of course in my haste I forgot my eraser. I wonder what I’ll see next time!

Day 6

ps. Days later I am here typing this from a yellow legal pad where I had hastily scribbled these thoughts that evening….because it’s too windy to paint!

another ps. I am never quite comfortable calling a pastel drawing a painting, as I feel I am drawing, not painting, with color. However I’ve gleaned from art magazines that pastels are called paintings, so I interchange the two terms….

5 thoughts on “It’s not windy!

  1. Nancy Kurtz

    I feel the curve of the earth in this one. Such a delight to see your demo last month, Scotty. Wishing you some calm October days ahead.

  2. I just fell in love with your landscapes! enchanting colors, romantic scapes, you made made nature so vibrant!
    it is just wonderful..
    nouha sinno

    1. Thank you so much Nouha! And I”m looking forward to seeing your work. Cheers

  3. Diane Petersen

    Scottie Mitchell I first saw your pastels on Boulder Mountain a few years ago. I have never forgotten. I so wanted to take a class from you. I hope to travel to New Mexico soon . Lived in Albuquerque In town in 1965, and never forgot the New Mexico sky. I just finished my watercolors of the Capitol Reef Hogan and barn and finally want to move on. I am always planning my return to New Mexico. Thank you for your beautiful work. It really inspires me to keep painting the earth’s amazing beauty! Diane Petersen in Salt Lake City.

    1. Awww Diane thanks you so much! If you travel here you’re welcome to visit my studio which is a fun hogan! I’m hoping to paint more in Utah when the world settles down a little. If you send me your email, I’ll ut you on my list, for when I update my pastels there. All the best and Happy Thanksgiving!

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