Friday, April 8, 2016

#36: Adventure Trails

While traveling on the Grand Circle we had the opportunity to see ancient petroglyphs (images scratched into rock) and pictographs (images painted on rock). No one is quite certain why the ancient ones left the images, and what their true meaning might be. However, there are a number of images that are found throughout Arizona, Utah and Colorado. We can only guess at the interpretation. 

I wanted to emulate the Indian images to tell the story of our Grand Circle tour with Adventure Caravans. I wasn't pleased with my finished piece. There was too much contrast between the small pictographs and the background image, so I tried again.

At the end of the tour I gave the second finished piece to the president of the company who happened to be touring with us.  The possible interpretation of the images is: Many people danced together and traveled from one valley to another for 42 days. The community was moved, and the people experienced success and happiness in their new location. 

12" x 18" watercolor on rag paper

What I liked about this drawing:
I liked the color variations of the background, especially the splatter. The background is very reminiscent of the red rocks we saw throughout the tour.

What I might do differently:
I began with a mottled yellow background and then used a masking fluid to reserve the lighter colored area for the pictograph images. It might have been interesting to vary the backgrounds of the images, so that they had more shading of yellows and lighter oranges and reds. 

What I learned:
After I viewed my first attempt, and realized that I didn't like the contrast of the spiral images and the other pictographs, I remembered the "disappearing purple" technique I had been introduced to at a drop-in "paint with me" session in Arizona. After masking the pictographs I wanted to remain light colored, I painted the spiral in a  light purple. Then, when I put on the layers of oranges and reds, the purple grayed out and became a subtle shadow. 

1 comment:

  1. I love that you decided to commemorate your trip in this way, Dreaming. I always taught my third graders about petroglyphs and pictographs in the southwest, especially in the Four Corners area. And we nearly always made petroglyph art, although technically it was pictograph art. My kids would draw their "petroglyphs" on white paper with crayons, and then wash their drawings with a rock-colored paint. It was great fun, and the results were really good. We would do also do Dream Time paintings when studying Australia. Thanks for sharing these!