Monument Valley was our last stop before heading to Vegas and flying home. It always feels like just when I start to figure things out, just when I feel like I might hit my painting stride, the trip is over: do you feel like that when you travel and sketch? After 4 days among the dizzying rock formations, I am starting to see big shapes, scratching at the surface of understanding the color, the light and all the textures I see…
It was a relatively easy day, so we pulled over and stopped for short breaks a few times as we drove towards Monument Valley.
This was my first sketch of the day, somewhere outside the town Bluff, Utah.
A few of these panoramic sketches are done on a 6×12 Fluid Cold Finish paper block. I carried this in addition to my usual Stillman & Birn sketchbooks (an Alpha and a Beta) because it seemed like the right proportion for painting these vast scenes. And because I always carry more paper than I need to when I travel!
This next one is a strange rock formation outside a town named for it: Mexican Hat. My kids asked what the town would be called after that top rock falls off .
As you drive towards Monument Valley from the north, you start seeing these classic silhouettes of the rocks against the sky. And yes, you’ve seen some version of this in every Western movie. But it’s still worth pulling over and painting.
Most of these next quick sketches are over very short stops on 17 Mile Drive through the park. I had my paints and book out of the bag. If the car stopped, (mostly to take a photo or two) I did a quick sketch.
This is one of the famous mitten formations. Is it East Butte? West Butte? I can’t be sure.
One last piece, made outside the park.
I could paint that red rock for days and not tire of it.
And that’s it from my spring road trip. Here is the rest of it:
- Starting at the end in Las Vegas
- Zion National Park
- Inside Antelope Canyon
- The quiet beauty of Mesa Verde
- And this last one, Monument Valley.
Thanks for coming along on the ride!