Sierra Madera Astrobleme: #’s 1 through 6; Started: May 2019 finished Spring 2020

The West Texas paintings came from a road trip with Dorothy in January of 2019 to Marfa and back to Houston!  We were driving between Fort Stockton and Marathon  – it was late afternoon, the sun was in our eyes and the lighting was not “impressive” enough for me to take any photos.  Then we passed a sign that said: Sierra Madera Astrobleme

As you can tell the lighting was horrible!  No respecting artist/photographer would be interested in this area! Not too far from this sign I simply had to stop and take a series of photographs.  Yes, the lighting was awful!  Yes, the landscape was “boring”! Yet, was it all that bad?  In spite of it all I took a series of photos that have inspired my latest series of paintings.

Tony made me 6 stretched canvases that are approximately 6 feet long by 22 inches high. I taped the photos together to form a long panorama and  divided the photograph into 6 overlapping sections. It was a conscious decision to make each painting stand alone with the series not designed to be placed end-to-end.

Here is what the panels looked like with just the blue sky in them!

I purchased paint from the “big paint store” to lay in the sky and foreground.

Here are the panels with the sky and foreground in them.

Then I sketched in the mountains (mid-ground):

Panels 3,4, 5 and 6 with the mountains sketched in.

I spent some time playing with the foreground – some success; some not success.

Panel 4 foreground? Needs a lot of work!

Now I’m playing with the mountains – flushing them out more!

This is the updated Panel 4 – with the mountains 1st pass painted in.

Got to lighten them up a bit! Or a lot! Time will tell.  Not sure how “stylized” I want them to be… time to experiment! I like the general shape of the sky/mountain line.

So close — and yet so much to do!  I’m really conflicted about how to tie the base of the mountains with the foreground. The photographs aren’t too helpful – oh darn I’ll have to figure it out on my own!  (Insert Happy Face Emoji here!)

Here are the final – revised and revised again pieces!

Panels 1-6 (right to left)