Yellow rocks and sand
Hewn from cliffs of gold
Too heavy
Hot and cold
From turquoise skies
Scrub still wearing
A Winter coat
Searching the sun
For Spring’s relief
Of desert drought

The painting above was from my first trip to New Mexico along the Turquoise Trail just south of Santa Fe. I painted most of it years ago, but was never entirely happy with it. So I stuffed it in a corner. I liked the sky, so I figured I’d take another look later. The trouble was the location was lit head on by a diffused light and there were no shadows at all. The colour of the rock made it appear there were shadows. But that day, at that time, there were none. Having never seen a mesa before, I was fascinated. But I knew I wasn’t interesting anyone one else the way it was.

So last week I finally pulled it out from its hole and tried to fix it. I moved that sun over a bit and took a page out of Georgia O’Keeffe’s book, emphasizing the natural washouts and soft crevices. I’m still not sure I achieved my vision here. Perhaps my original vision was incomplete or got lost. I needed a new one. In the end, the vision may have changed, but the view ended up better than before.

Now it is the right kind of empty. End of Winter in the desert empty.

*Turquoise Trail, 36×18, acrylic on canvas, ©2014, 2016 M. Hendry