This is the story of how the high desert inspired me to create this painting. It began over a year ago during our trip down to the Southwest. We ended up discovering the area that inspired this piece by accident after wandering down a long dead end road. After camping nearby, I spent the morning painting at what was my favorite spot up the canyon:
In the land of canyons, the towering landscapes around you can make oneself feel so small. The sheer glory of the rocks tower above these deep canyons, where water, wildlife, and nature thrives. This area is indeed full of surprises and I think what impressed me the most were the vivid range of colors that could be found in abundance almost everywhere.
The mule deer surprised me in strong numbers throughout this area. We ran into them the entire time as we explored the region and when constructing this idea together on canvas I thought how fitting it would be to include them. In this scene I imagine a bachelor group of bucks wandering across the bottom of this deep canyon, grabbing a drink of water before heading up to the other side.
A fish surfaces on the water behind the large boulder right near the remnants of an old campsite. I found many similar scenes while exploring the countryside. All these signs and impressions left behind are so evident on this type of landscape and I wanted to exhibit some of that within this piece.
The view from camp we had. What an incredible place! I'm fascinated every time with the possibilities of what if, what could be, and what once was. This area has had a profound impact in how I think about my work as an artist and how I view nature.
The different landscape that I had never experienced places things in a new perspective and I would encourage any artist to experience the same. Venturing out into new areas is important to the growth in how we create. It's also important for me to stay out in these areas to learn about the weather, the environment and how the animals use it. This all helped me pull the ideas I had into the finished painting.
This landscape is the fifth painting of my series of work capturing what I love most about the outdoors and is an attempt to capture the magnificent beauty of the Southwestern United States. I hope to revisit this area within my work and hopefully travel to this region again soon. There is so much to explore and so many stories to tell.
I'm Chuck Black, landscape and wildlife artist based in Southwest Montana.
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