Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings: Church Rock

As the weather shifts and we're getting our first hail and rain storm I'm posting another plein air piece from Moab.
Church Rock
8"x 10"
Oil on board
I started this painting just as the morning light hit the rock. Those of you who have traveled this area will probably recognize this formation. Church Rock is a local landmark near the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The small cave bellow was blasted out by a local rancher in the 1940's to store salt licks and feed. Church rock is particularly striking as it sits freestanding in Dry Valley.

One of the fun occurrences that happen in the red rock country is the color mixing that occurs in the shadow side of the rocks and canyons. The usually clear blue skies reflect and mix with the deep red and yellow rock colors with the result being some spectacular color shifts. Fun stuff to paint though the colors change quickly when you're painting from life. This painting is a good example of the great color you can observe in the shadows along with the beautiful fall colors of the desert brush.


  1. Glad I found your blog. I look forward to exploring the rest of it.

    A couple years ago I painted Church Rock, but before painting, I explored it a little. Inside the opening I wasn't surprised to find graffiti on the walls and empty beer cans on the dirt floor, but I was surprised to find some "Ave Maria" candles. Just before starting my painting a stranger came up to me and asked if this was where a "satanic church" used to meet. I hadn't expected that question! Nothing strange happened while I painted, but weird things seemed to happen later that night. The strangest thing was when I stopped at a gas station in Helper and found a bat wing stuck on my car antenna! An entire wing minus the rest of the bat! Here's the painting of Church Rock I did that day:

  2. Thanks James. I've never heard those rumors before. It is an interesting rock formation, though.