Golden Throne

The first time I visited the national parks in Utah, it was for work — enjoyable work because I had a commission to paint the parks — but work nonetheless. When we visited again this summer, it was for pleasure, and so I had time both to sketch and to hike at Capitol Reef, my favourite of the parks.

I brought my sketchbook and travel palette with me on a hike up the Golden Throne trail. The view of the rocks in the late afternoon sun was so spectacular and the light so dramatic that I stopped in a shady spot partway up the trail to sketch, and let the rest of the family climb up to see the view at the top. When I think back on it now, I remember sketching a bit frantically as I tried to capture the shapes of the peaks, the changing light and the plunging view. Ink and wash were the best way to work, considering the situation. Drawing in ink allowed me to rapidly suggest the many layers in the cliffs that are so characteristic of that park. The whole scene would have taken much longer if I had tried to do it just in watercolour with no ink.

I regret not adding an element to suggest scale in my sketch. Perhaps a car or a figure on the road below would have helped but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Sketched in a hardcover Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, 9″ x 12″.

18 Comments on “Golden Throne”

  1. Diane says:

    This is so beautiful! I love landscape like this.


  2. Bernadette says:

    Very dramatic. I can almost imagine being there. You conveyed the feeling of the majestic very well.


  3. Ruth Kaldor says:

    What kind of inks would you carry in a travel kit?


  4. Denise says:

    An element for scale or not, this is an amazing painting of a truly amazing place. Love the parks in Utah!


  5. Uma says:

    Good Morning dear friend Shari




  6. Judy Sopher says:

    Oh Wow!! You certainly captured all you set out to do. The color is dynamic.


  7. Rlschaffer says:

    Beautiful. The Utah National Parks, Monuments and some of the State Parks are just amazing with these red sandstone vistas. You captured the grandeur of this hike. Makes me want to go back to Capital Reef. It is likely picking time in Fruita too!


  8. Susie Langley says:

    Shari- Those Utah paintings are fabulous! Thanks for sharing.


  9. Janet Clemens says:

    Capitol Reef is my favorite Utah park. This lovely sketch/painting brought back memories of camping there and picking apples in the nearby orchard. Thanks for bringing back nice memories.


  10. Donna says:

    Just awesome! Amazing results with the elements putting pressure on you to produce.


  11. Cindy Wahlstrom says:

    Not an easy subject. Beautiful!


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