High and dryPosted: August 26, 2019
When I was invited to give a workshop in Sun Valley, Idaho, I gladly accepted, knowing that the high desert landscape was beautiful. I looked at plenty of photos online, but like all mountainous regions, you never really get a sense of it until you get there.
What I found most striking was the rounded, yellow hills on either side of the Wood River Valley that runs through Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley. The colour of the hills changes every time you look at them. In the morning they are dark and greenish. At high noon, they are the colour of bleached wheat. At dusk the sunlit parts are bright yellow and the shadow areas are deep blue. It’s quite magical.
One evening we drove to Silver Creek Reserve. If you don’t know it, imagine Ernest Hemingway standing knee deep in a trout stream with a fly fishing rod in his hand. That’s the place.
I did a couple of quick sketches from the visitor’s centre, standing in the blowing wind, looking out over the valley towards those yellow hills. It was a real challenge to figure out what colours to use to paint them, since the colours were changing quickly in the late afternoon light. You can see ochres, siennas, reds, blues and greens, but how to combine them all to convey those luminous lights and shadows is still a mystery to me. Good thing I’ll be back next year to try again.