The musings of a landscape painter, art teacher, and art history lover
Embark on a visual journey through Northern Arizona's summer monsoon with a landscape painter's brush as your guide. In this piece, we delve into the creation of a captivating Arizona landscape painting that transcends the stereotypical desert imagery, focusing on the dynamic interplay of clouds above the Mogollon Rim.
When Northern Arizona beckons during the summer monsoon, heed the call. Picture expansive skies painted in hues of bright blue, transforming abruptly into towering cloud formations. Sunlight pierces through these billowing structures, casting brilliant rays that set the stage for awe-inspiring sunsets.
Contrary to the common association of Arizona with vast deserts, the terrain above the Mogollon Rim unfolds as a painter's paradise. Dense ponderosa pine forests, rolling mountains, meadows, and fields of flowers create a diverse canvas for artistic expression, challenging the conventional perception of the Grand Canyon State.
For an Arizona landscape artist, the allure lies in capturing the grandeur of monsoon clouds that assemble into colossal cloud-castles, adorned with an array of vibrant hues. The challenge becomes an opportunity to translate the ever-shifting play of light through these ethereal structures onto the canvas.
In the creation of this particular artwork—a modest 11” X 14”—I intentionally lowered the horizon line to place emphasis on the majestic clouds. The initial painting session, spanning a few hours, served as a foundation, but it wasn't until weeks later that I revisited the piece, recognizing the need for refinement. As always, I used M Graham oil paints over a primed panel.
Returning to the studio, I intensified the cloud presence, layering them to create a sense of depth. Attention was devoted to the lower portions of the clouds, skillfully guiding them towards the painting's horizon. Additionally, I revisited the foreground, meticulously developing the dappled light effects generated by the clouds. Through these revisions, the painting transformed into a nuanced representation of the Northern Arizona sky.
The scene depicted in this composition originates from a wooded park area just south of Flagstaff, Arizona. Beyond the conventional imagery associated with the state, this Arizona landscape painting captures the essence of Northern Arizona's summer monsoon, inviting viewers to appreciate the multifaceted beauty that lies beyond the desert stereotype.
Author: Bruce Black
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