These rock-texture, fractal landscapes are becoming more satisfying than my plein air scenics. My fellow Banff resident Laura Holwein nailed it when she observed that their “scale is negotiable”.
However, the scenics give me the excuse to head for the hills (or rims, in this case) and of course to search out even more variegated surfaces for the rock series. I still haven’t found the perfect lighting on the perfect cross-bedding example, nor checkerboarding either. I went back up to the West Rim to photograph burned trees with the non-dead large camera, and wandered off-trail onto a wooded plateau and deep cleft between Mt. Majestic and Cathedral Mountain.
So hard to choose between more artistic accomplishment in the more easily controlled studio environment – no heat, no bugs, no complex scene to assimilate, simplify and paint quick before the light changes – and the glory of being fully immersed, fully in the moment, in the ultimate subject. Very little makes me happier than hard walking in a glorious place, except maybe that and a great picture.
(Please forgive temporary photography, which does some violence to the true colors… No studio lights here!)