Lost in the hoodoos

Each of Utah’s five National Parks have vastly different rock formations and that’s what makes them so interesting and yet so difficult to capture in paint. Capitol Reef was big red canyon walls and layers of the Waterpocket Fold. Arches was monoliths. Canyonlands, which I visited yesterday but had no time to write about was, as the name suggests, vast vistas seen from above. Today’s park is Bryce Canyon. Again this is geography that you look down into from the rim. It’s a more hospitable landscape for the shade-seeking sketcher because of the pines along the edge, but it’s geology that is so foreign to my eyes that it took a while to comprehend.
Looking into the canyons of orange limestone pillars, it took some time to think about how to paint these, and I decided that it might be best to start by sketching them. The spires are vertical but the layers of colour are horizontal and mostly deepen in intensity as they move downward. It’s not necessary to paint every hoodoo, although that is what you might think upon first impression. I tried to use something I learned from Tom Hoffman. How can you say it in the least amount of paint strokes? Tomorrow I will be in Zion National Park and I suppose that will bring a whole new menu of geological formations that I will have to comprehend.


17 Comments on “Lost in the hoodoos”

  1. Linda says:

    I love receiving your daily posts and it is exciting to see how your style is evolving. Your less-is-more approach is fantastic!


  2. brooklyn49 says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS. Bravo! Jacques


  3. Lee Kline says:

    Stunned…….and speechless!


  4. Miz Dee says:

    It was snowing when I was there. You did a spectacular job. I was too new to art to even attempt to capture it. I’m reliving them through you!


  5. Linda Daily says:

    You do that HooDoo that you do so well! I think that was how the song went.
    Wow,I am reminded of the trip my husband I took several years ago. It is like arriving in another country…or planet! I have enjoyed following these posts so much. Your stunning colors and brevity of brush strokes has captured the beauty of this special place.


  6. CharlieAmra says:

    Simply marvelous. Again, I love how you can convey so much information with such a simply economical style. You continue to inspire and amaze. Thanks for sharing these.


  7. Admiro tus pinturas,por la elecciòn de temas còmo la sencillez conque defines,unos pocos trazos y ahi!!!!! esta la maravillosa naturaleza, Me encanta


  8. renefijten says:

    I was on the exact same location last year, but drew the left view. I recognize your observations, I had trouble deciding what to do as well. Started with only watercolour, but it didn’t work for me. I went for inktense pencils, to get the vertical rythems of the spires. Besides, I only had a waterbrush with me, it’s difficult to catch those vibrant colours there.
    I admire your result, I would never be able to achieve that effect.


    • Thanks Rene. Yes, you do need the vibrancy of colour to get the depth in the hoodoos. They are both beautiful and ugly at the same time. I find that you need to over elements in the sketch (sky, distant mountains) to give scale as well.


    • A lot of those mountains do look alike but you rendered it well. We were close to Lake Powell but didn’t quite make it. We wondered why so many boats were travelling through the desert until we looked at a map and realized how close the water was.


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