This painting began in August sometime and it was the first landscape painting I started when I first got on this journey of painting the land with just paint and without my usual arsenal of mixed media. It was the first time I created a larger landscape in encaustic as well. This is such a simple composition, but for me the simpler a composition is, the longer it takes me to resolve it. I like the strong lines and shapes. I simplified the mountain lines a bit and even the dramatic sky. I wanted it to read as landscape, but brought down to its bare bones.
My husband is an avid mountaineer, heading into the wilderness around the U.S. whenever he is able to. The mountains that he really wants to do are more difficult because they are way out there and require several days, which when you have work plus a family with small children, having an excess of extra days is not really all that available. But we make it happen when we can. He helps me get my studio time and I help him get his mountain time. Anyway, he comes back with the most amazing photos that make my jaw drop at the wild beauty of the land. The Badwater Basin is located in Death Valley National Park and he told me that it’s unlike any place he’s ever been to.
This painting was inspired by one of the photos he took. I am not sure if I will ever set foot in the Badwater Basin, but I feel like if I did it would feel so familiar to me. Painting from observation is such an intimate dialogue between the painter and subject. I spent several months on this painting- adding paint, scraping back, hanging on the wall to stare at it, then back on the table to continue the cycle. This painting was a bit of a breakthrough for me. Still digesting the lessons.