As I do more more paintings in my The Big Sky series I am warming to this idea of choosing locations that show Man's efforts to live in these remote and often inhospitable places. Either they can be where man's interjections into the landscape are in some way successful like here or they show man's failure to make a go of it either for commercial/business reasons or the environmental conditions were too harsh. In this case in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico on Highway 60 is this rest stop where drivers can pull over and eat their lunch etc in the shade within the vast deserted landscape.
I am getting more and more interested in trying to get across these vast spaces with little touches of man's presence within them always under the Big Sky. I am trying to make these places look beautiful in some way whilst retaining the often ordinariness of the location, kind of a hybrid of the Hudson River School and Edward Hopper!
At the composition stage I always try and introduce/find diagonals in a landscape as they add movement and dynamism to what is a static and potentially boring scene. I only use verticals and horizontals if I want a sense of peace and stillness. In this picture the diagonal comes from the line that connects the bush in the left corner to the red waste bin to the rest stop itself and finally the small isolated tree on the right near the horizon - I also emphasised the diagonal more by using the lighter strip of the path from the bin to the shelter to show up more against the ground around it.
Oil on linen 30" x 20".
There is a step-by-step progress through this painting including what colours I used in previous posts on this blog.