The air affects the colors in a variety of ways - muting and altering the hues and sharpness of the cracks and crazes in the earth.  Early Spaniards thought that the river was about 6 feet across while it is many yards across in most places.  There are tricks of perception due to all of the factors that influence what you see.  Two scenes look completely different from morning to evening with many variations in between.  I found that you cannot exaggerate the colors too much.

There is one color that is universal and it proved for me to be the most difficult to get - green.  A light, dirty, luminescent soft greengray - an absolutely essential color in the Canyon!

I can usually paint quite quickly even on a larger canvas of 11” x 14” or more, but the Grand Canyon really demanded a studied

process in order to achieve the contrast of the items that were in the foreground and the vast distances that were in the background.  The interplay of reflected light and warm and cool juxtaposition was an ever present challenge in every surface.

I loved the trees and bushes that grow on the rim. You could just do studies of them without end.  But the unique distances of the canyon were what captures your eye.

After a day or two I began to see some patterns, the repetition of semi circles and the dance of “skirts” that fall off of the mesas.

In the bright daylight of most of the day the colors are muted and soft - like the most beautiful pastels that you can imagine.  All are softened by the water in the air and the distance.  In the morning the canyon is the most vibrant blue in the opposite direction from the suns light. In the evening it reverses itself.  One after noon we could see the rain coming for miles until it drenched our painting sight.  Afterwards there was a unbelievable sunset coloring the clouds and the tops of the canyon walls.

My painting was limited to various sites along the rim. Ofter you could find one vantage point of a Hoo Doo and then several miles down the roar paint the same site from another direction.  It was definitely a workout of the number of reds, roses, purples and dusty hues of the above that you could possible come up with.  I loved seeing the blues and purples of the distance between the spires and against the undulating cliffs along the ridge  I finally gave up on the larger canvases and concentrated on small *’ x *’ and 8” x 10”.  There are many things that I did not get to paint that I would have liked to try.  I have never seen so much indian brush!  It was at its most glorious. There were Indian dances and old lodges and a train station that I had to leave for another time.

The paintings to the right and below are studio versions of what I remember, photos and the sketches that I did at the canyon.  It is really impossible to exaggerate the colors too much as the light, distance, ai, shadows, time of day and weather create unbelievable colors changes.  I felt like I was just beginning to get the hand of it on the last day that I got to paint.