|watercolor painted from Apache Junction in 1995|
When I lived in Scottsdale I loved hiking to Weavers Needle or up the Siphon Trail, but I always found the iconic shape of Superstition Mountain an intimidating and awkward topic for a painting. Last week I tried again to meet that challenge. It was the third time I think. With more distance, I'm living in Tucson now, I approached it after acquiring a little more background knowledge which always helps. But I think most importantly, I didn't try to sit out there in June to do a plein air study. I did that before: it's too hot for watercolors (and me). So I turned to my old slides for inspiration and did a studio painting.
|Plein air study in June of 1997|
The website explains the geology of the strange shape that rises so abruptly out of the desert flats: 'This land of towering spires and deep canyons was formed by volcanic upheaval some 29 million years ago during the tertiary period of geologic time. Superstition Mountain was formed during a tectonic maelstrom which resulted in a massive caldera. The caldera was almost seven miles in diameter. After the lava cooled, magma pushed the center of the caldera upward forming a mass of igneous rock. The mass was slowly eroded for millions of years by running water and wind forming the mountain we see today. Superstition Mountain in the distant past was a thousand feet higher than it is today. Uplift, subsidence, resurgence and erosion have all played a role in shaping Superstition Mountain.'
|Large studio painting, watercolor, 2014|
This year I'll definitely be back for more exploration, hikes, and maybe paintings, who knows.