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Keywords:North America, USA, alone, arizona, butte, buttes, clouds, cloudy, desolate, eternal, hues, hunt mesa, hunt's mesa, icon, iconic, issolated, landscape, mesa, monument, monumental, nature, navajo, navajo county, peace, peaceful, sandstone, sky, soft, southwest, spiritual, summer, surrounding atmosphere, tribal park, valley, west, western
Photo Info

Dimensions13650 x 9098
Original file size52.4 MB
Image typeJPEG
Surrounding Atmosphere

Surrounding Atmosphere

“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.” ~ Claude Monet

It had been a long time goal to visit Hunt's Mesa, in Monument Valley. Normally a place with an excessive amount of clear blue skies and bright sunny days, I knew and I hoped that my visit in the unlikely month of June would depend on a different surrounding atmosphere to produce what I imagined. While I am not an impressionist with my craft, one of the premier legends of landscape light, Monet, depended upon exactly the same kind of varied light and air to bring true value to his scenes that I would also need to properly appreciate the value of mine. A semi-short study of his works reveals he emulated the same kind of surrounding atmosphere of light and air in his works of what were often common scenes -- muted, diffused, and low. With unimaginable luck, the sky, the light, and air all cooperated beyond my imagination, for both sunset and sunrise. Here is sunrise-muted light breaking through the clouds to produce this magically enchanted, iconic, and indelible landscape of the West, a short distance from my tent.

What I love most about this piece, is that it literally lives and transforms in my eyes as I slowly wake up during pre-dawn and dawning light, gently filling the room as the sun peeks in through the window upon the opposite wall. 30" tall by 45" wide on museum-grade canvas, I have woken up with it for years and I never tire of how it always wakes up with me. It goes like this...Stirring and waking up a little before sunrise, I glance up at it and the scene in the available light in the room is exactly as I remember it in the pre-dawn light out there. Then after drifting away again for 5 or 10 minutes, I stir again to see the scene changed in hue and light, revealing slightly more detail than last time, and identical to how I remembered it as dawn occurred in front of me. That pattern will continue for the next 20 to 30 minutes, stirring and staring then back to slumber every handful of minutes or so; and each time the changing light of the scene mimicks my memory of the hour I experienced when living the scene in person. Its one of the few pieces I've produced that has that effect.