Broad Canyon Fire

Acrylic painting of Broad Canyon at the Utah/Idaho border, on fire.

Broad Canyon Fire. Acrylic. 24"x48"  2016
To live in the American West is to live in a world on fire. Plunging into an ever hotter and dryer climate, the landscape is rewritten. Fire erupts out of the parched and dying hills, a new sort of fire that burns hot enough to sterilize the soil and explode trees in vacuuming cyclonic heat. Long after the fire has burned itself out, the char will flow with flooding rains, destroying riparian habitat with toxic loads of ash and rewriting the landscape with mudslides. Rare winter snows will evaporate from bald mountainsides through wind transduction, no forest will ever grow again, and no streams will flow in summer, and no aquifers will recharge; desertification will cycle harder and squeeze all life from the earth.

This is a Proscenium Roadscape; first investigated in 2009 in a series of paintings whose concept is explained on the Proscenium page in my 2D section.

This is one of many fires I drove past this summer. Traveling in a small truck at 80mph on a 102 degree day with the air conditioning on, talking my wife through the operation of the new camera so she can snap off images of the destruction of the natural world as we roar along the interstate with the dog whining at the scent of doom, eventually passing through the wall of smoke and into the haze and pall of many fires from hundreds of miles all falling to rest in the dead air of the dead sea of the receding Great Salt Lake.  
Color mapping over value study.
Establishing intensity substrate.
Establishing dark values, then remapping structure.
Bringing color, value, and intensity of fire and smoke into cohesion, and establishing relationship of foreground.
A day of pushing and pulling with transparent washes.
Another day of transparent washes.
Unsatisfied, I rework the L side into a roiling yellow, and lay in a few dark transparent washes to recede the yellow.
Transparent washes continue, establishing the volume of the near L maelstrom.
Final day; flowing near to far by value/intensity and complexity of smoke, plus another go-round in the landscape.
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