Southwestern Colorado is one of the most beautiful places I have ever traveled through. It's unreal to be driving within the San Luis Valley and behold the distant, giant mountains, placed like strong arms spanning the near entirety of 360 degrees of visible horizon. Last spring we visited the Great Sand Dune National Park in the Crestone area. What seemed like small mounds of dust in the distance from our view in our jeep became massive hills of shifting sand once we were in them. We climbed about two peaks before reaching our limit. It truly felt like we were landed in the middle of an African desert. Upon returning to our little rented home for the evening, nearly 50 miles away, we were amazed to discover that we could actually still make out the Dunes in the distance. The range of visibility in the valley gives big sky Montana a run for its money. The next day we hiked up to a gorgeous water fall, still partially frozen from a long winter, but thundering underneath. As we came nearer to the source, we heard the sounds of Native tones flowing through some wooden wind instrument. At first I thought it was my own mind. To conclude our adventures, we traveled to San Luis to experience the Stations of the Cross nestled on a large jut of earth overlooking the little town below. The atmosphere was sacred and the scultptures were breathtaking in their portrayal of characters and emotion. I have never experienced anything like it. Before embarking on our return home, I asked Derrick to pull over so I could snap a picture of a particularly beautiful perspective of the valley. I used this photo to set the foundation of my painting. I chose to include a wild looking, yellow blooming tree (blue palo verde) in the composition. I had been seeing these trees sprinkled at random throughout the valley and often bordering the main streets in towns we passed, and I fell in love with their glowing sunflower color against the soft blues and purples in the distant mountains.
This is one of my very first paintings that I feel birthed itself. It never felt like a long tedious effort to bring the piece to life. Rather, I felt like every section of landscape demanded its own presence and coloring, swirling together in a circular composition that draws the viewer in. Definitely one of my favorite things to make. I hope you enjoy :)
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