Monument Canyon - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Monument Canyon" Colored Pencil

Out in western Colorado, the pinon-covered plateau is sliced by a peculiar gorge that appears more alien than Mars. Under a searing, summer sun, Monument Canyon is an inconceivable gateway to the Great American Desert but this sweeping panorama isn't make-believe.

Like some garden of unearthly delights, chiseled sandstone pinnacles tower above a devil's den of arid habitat. The dazzling landscape is distinguished by sharp contrasts in value and color. In order to express the oppressive heat, a palette of warm tones is required.

Beaming down from above, a radiant light polishes the red rocks with bleached highlights and dark shadows. Below, colors clash on the canyon floor where passages of green brush speckle the scorched earth. Behind, a hazy shelf of Book Cliffs becomes blueish-gray.

The piece is meant to be an accurate representation of the view from an outstanding overlook along Rim Rock Drive. So if it seems like a study in Surrealism, nothing could be further from fact. This detailed drawing is a classic case of the truth being stranger than fiction.


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