A description of the work process Rebecca and I used for her artist-in-residence paintings, by Will Tait:
1. While at Zion we spent a great deal of time out on the trails and while the wheelchair made things a bit more difficult we got off the pavement quite a lot. As we wandered around we stopped frequently to just look and make comments about the various impressions we got from the landscape. One in particular was the incredibly blue sky, we couldn’t stop being amazed by the intensity of it.
2. When Rebecca saw a scene she wanted to preserve she would say to me “Beeyootiful” and I would prepare one of the cameras which she would use one-handed to take shots of the scene at different angles and from small shifts in location to give different angles. In this manner each day we collected numerous images to study.
3. After the first couple of days we realized the need to re-visit some of the places to get different light so we would go back, sometimes more than once, to obtain a variety of impressions.
4. In the evening we would move the images from the cameras to the computer and look through them, selecting those that seemed immediately of interest and placing them in a “to be considered for painting” folder. In this way by the time we got home we already had a short list of images Rebecca knew she wanted to work with.
5. Having selected an image Rebecca and I would spend time in the computer figuring out what she felt was of particular visual appeal. Having reached a decision I would then do necessary editing in Photoshop to remove everything that was superfluous to her vision then present the result to her for approval. We would reiterate until she was satisfied at which point I would prepare what I call a “ghost image”, that is an image that has almost no color and very little detailed information. Then I would print a full scale version of the standard image for Rebecca’s final approval after which I would print the ghost onto watercolor paper as reference while painting. Each night I would paint a small amount which Rebecca would go over the next day. She would point to areas she felt needed work and I would make suggestions which she would respond to with yes or no until we arrived at a consensus for what I would paint the next night.
6. That’s about it. Time consuming but done in such a way that Rebecca was guiding the process and making the decisions.
The geology of the Kolob Canyon is quite immense and impressive. In particular I am drawn to the layering of sediments and the negative spaces created by wind and water over time. I love the details and patterns created by the geologic formations.
The work selected is titled “The Layered Landscape of the Kolob Canyon”. This work was inspired by one of my initial hikes in the Kolob Canyon. The patterns created by the layering of sediments are interesting and colorful. The colors of the rocks are so vivid and energetic. Even the plant forms create interesting shapes and patterns in the landscape.
My landscape paintings are an interpretation of my experience in a place. I tried to capture the energy I felt in this place with pattern and color. I was able to create vivid colors in watercolor using multiple layers of glazing. The landscape is altered to exaggerate those details I find so energizing and beautiful.
In this work I tried to communicate how I feel connected to the energy of this landscape. The Zion landscape is diverse and powerful. It is hard to sum up the feelings I have for Zion in one painting. My residency was an amazing experience and one that will continue to inspire and influence my work for years to come.
This piece was created after days of walking along the river looking at the eroded rock structures. I completed some quick pencil sketches in the cold days of January then headed to my cabin to paint.
This was my favorite piece created during my time at Zion. It was a new color palette for my work. Each place we travel inspires us to look at our surroundings in a new way and I am so thankful for the opportunity to immerse myself in the beauty of the park.
-Evelyn McCorriston Peters
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Last updated: February 23, 2019