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05.09.2012 ~ rayado summer storm

by | May 9, 2012 | new mexico landscapes, oil painting, Philmont, Rayado, storm, summer

rayado summer storm ~ oil and mixed media on panel ~ by dawn chandler ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012
Perhaps no other canyon on Philmont pushes and pulls my spirit for adventure the way Rayado Canyon does. The southern most canyon on the Ranch’s vast acreage, it cuts the line of mountains with a cleaver of mystery. Philmont’s epic outdoor challenge program is named for this canyon and the river that shapes it. The sides rise sharply and seem to wend eternally to a place of unknown opportunity.
If pressed, I would say the canyon’s features are best accentuated in setting sunlight rather than that of morning. For it’s in the late light of day when the sign of the buffalo — the southern silhouette of Fowler Mesa — is most clear and recognizable.

On this summer evening captured in my painting, the buffalo’s silhouette is obscured by a heavy bank of clouds. That patch of distant coral sky seems so innocent, belying the brute force of the storm that is about to pummel my car with marble hail. (I recall spreading a blanket on my windshield during that storm, for fear of the glass breaking.) The light on the foreground is that eery just-before-deluge kind of color, when the hues and scents of the land are keyed up and your own senses are heightened.

Some painting details:

This painting, as with the others in the series, started with a loose umber under-painting and scribing, though it’s hidden to the casual observer: