The Lion King Rock Face- the story behind the creation Comments Off on The Lion King Rock Face- the story behind the creation

Dear friends,
It gives me great pleasure to share with you my painting “THE LION KING, ROCK FACE”, which recently received the 1st place in the pastel category at the 19th Annual Masterworks 2017 Exhibition, Albuquerque NM.
The subject was painted in Palm Springs, CA in Indian Canyons (

I started this painting, which is a watercolor under painting finished with pastel, with a 10 minute drawing using a soft lead pencil (2B Venus).
Over the pencil drawing I applied the watercolor with a bit of abandon, using Paynes Gray (for my cool colors) at the base and Vandyke Brown (for my warm colors) for the top of the rock formation. I wetted down the sky with a very light application of Paynes Gray, the watercolor under painting dried immediately in the desert sun and I was able to proceed with my pastels, working from dark to light.

Whenever the watercolor tones will show through and worked well for the value of the colors for the rock formation, I let the watercolor show through. Watercolor has another aspect to it, and is referred to “watercolor accidents”, which are unique and quite beautiful.

And could be easily seen at the base of the rocks in my pastel.
The blue of the sky was established broadly, using a Terry Ludwig Sky Blue, modified some by a mauve color of the exact same value applied lightly, this could be sensed possibly at the top right hand part of the sky.
Many a time Indian Canyons is overlooked by plein air painters, who visit the area, I stumbled upon it by chance 20 years ago, it took my breath away and I have returned many times throughout the years.
The area is extremely beautiful, varied and paintable; I could go on forever, trying to describe its beauty.
For example: the rock formations at Andreas Canyon, which is a short distance from the entrance, had amongst other things, the rock formation inspired and used for the Walt Disney animated movie “The Lion King”, one can sense a lion on top of these rocks (yes Walt Disney lived right next door to Indian Canyons and knew the area well).
Each time I return I’m captivated by these same rock formations. I am a strong believer of the sensible idea of painting variations of a theme.
Each time is different, because of the size, and shape of the surface you decide to paint on, the difference in lighting conditions, and the aspect of the rock formations one wants to focus on.
Even just a difference in the sky, from a rich blue to a floating white cloud can impact the way one perceives the subject etc.
I will be returning there with a group of artists this February. All the information is posted on my website.