Whew! I’ve finished my big project: “Dante’s View.” The image is 16”x24”; framed it will be 22”x30”. We took the original photo for this piece when we visited Death Valley National Park in June 2011. Summer in Death Valley is an interesting proposition, and it really makes you realize how fragile we humans are. Without sunscreen, a hat, UV-protectant clothes and sunglasses, solid shoes, and a CamelBak, we’d have died while visiting places aptly named Badwater Basin, Furnace Creek, Hell’s Gate, and the Devil’s Golf Course. Our oddest experience occurred overnight when the wind blew so fiercely that sand filtered in around the doors and windows of our inn at Stovepipe Creek, and the metal door frames became hot to the touch. Nevertheless, we took an amazing variety of photos, and several of my pieces have been inspired by that adventure.
As I’ve already written, this was a challenging piece for me to complete because of the immense distances, the changing light, and the lack of definition in the original photograph. I wanted to capture the intensity of that forlorn, shadowy place at sunset. It wasn’t barren, but the vegetation, bathed in orange light, was either dormant or struggling to cling to the mountainside in those dry buffeting winds blowing up from the valley floor. So what if I used shiny jewelry and fabric to simulate the brush, and legs, arms, and faces to replace the rocky cliffs?