Getting ready to paint in Sedona

Watercolor painting of Sedona, Arizona

I am going to Sedona, Arizona, to paint for a week in early March. The occasion is a workshop being given by watercolorist Robert O’Brien (with whom I have studied before, most recently in France). We will paint plein air for seven days, with lots of time to be inspired by this amazing landscape. Here’s a link to the workshop, in case you want to come too!

In anticipation of this trip, I’ve been thinking a lot about my palette. If you’ve never been to Sedona, the landscape is a glorious array of pink rocks, high desert piñons and junipers, and intense blue sky. Here’s an example, a photo that I took when I was there in 2014. You get the idea! So I realized that I needed to figure out how to paint the colors of Sedona and I’ve been playing with color in my sketchbook to pick and choose what I will take with me.  I was especially taken with Scarlet Lake, Rose Dore, Potter’s Pink, and the workhorse, Winsor Red. 

Sample page from my sketchbook, playing with palette colors.

I actually love doing this kind of prep work for painting. Since I’m also a writer, I have long referred to this activity as “sharpening pencils.” The work I need to do while I am mulling over a new project. And even though I live in Santa Fe, the colors here are different from those in Secona. More purples and blues and greens here. Different geology.

Once I had figured it out, I tried a new painting from one of my photos, using the new palette. It is on hot press paper, 10x14”. I’ll probably do a few more before I leave, just to experiment further with color and form. Here’s the painting. 

What do you think?

Sedona I

© Susan Williams 2019