Thursday, September 03, 2009

Plein Air Painting in Zion National Park

Roland Lee painting on the deck of his cabin in East Zion
Roland Lee plein air watercolor study of a Ponderosa PineOn Monday we drove back up to our cabin at East Zion for a few days so I could get a little painting done. I took my plein air watercolor gear and sketchbook so I was ready for anything. The sky was overcast again from the big fires on Pine Valley Mountain and the drift smoke from California, creating a strange haze in Zion Canyon. Up on top it was a little clearer. I set up my Anderson Easel on the deck of our cabin and did a little study of a big Ponderosa Pine Tree in watercolor.

Artist Roland Lee relaxing at his cabin in East Zion
Roland Lee plein air painting from his cabin at ZionOkay, so you can't paint all the time. Sometime you just have to absorb the view. This is my favorite spot sitting in my sky chair looking north towards Cedar Mountain. After a comfortable nap, I decided to get out my paints again and do another a little watercolor from this very spot.

Roland Lee painting en plein air in Zion National Park
I painted both days in the east or upper part of Zion. The cliffs are whiter here and with the higher elevation comes big Ponderosa Pine Trees.
Roland Lee paining of East Zion National Park
The second day cleared up a lot and the last light of the day was clear and strong. I had to race to get this sketch done as the shadow crawled up the cliffs rapidly. It was a mad scramble but I got what I needed. This is one I'll have to finish back in the studio. That's the challenge of outdoor painting, but it is also what makes it exciting.

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