Driving North on the small highway that hugs the edge of the Front Range mountains, passing Denver and prairie grasses to my right, red rocks and rolling hills to my left. After an hour, I eventually reach the outskirts of the bustling University town of Boulder, Colorado. Looking left out the window I see jagged dark granite rock formations jutting out at an obtuse angle from the ground. Hello to The Flatirons.
I weave through the town of bicyclists, students, teachers and ex-Californians to arrive at the trail head at the lower part of the formation. It is wet and misty after some rain showers which have turned the meadow in front a rich saturated yellow-green. The Flatirons loom ahead, battleship grey and menacing against a cloudy white sky. A mist rising and falling around these dark, diagonal turrets adds a sense of drama and ambition to the walk ahead. I make my way by boot, through the meadow, up the single track - Chautauqua Trail - past white-tailed deer grazing, clumps of forest mushrooms, cocooning butterfly webs and fragrant blossoming bushes. The hike up is steep, slippery, narrow and strenuous. I took a spur that plateaus a little and hugs the edge of the Flatirons. My right hand using the smooth rock for support and steadiness most of the way round. It feels like cold pewter. Slightly wet, dark and shiny like a dull mirror. It is sharply angled, rising upward, pointing straight to the white sky. I take a moment to absorb my experience hiking the Flatirons - the features, colors, texture, geological story. They are a part of my exploration of Denver's Front Range mountain formations.
A few weeks later in the studio, I started a collage sketch from my memory of that hike and the story of the Flatirons formation which later developed into a finished painting.
This painting is on exhibition at Space Gallery in Denver from July 1st - August 14th, 2016.