Painting Chaco Canyon?

I recently took up paints and brush again, this time trying my hand at acrylic paints.  Tried once when I was a young adult but hated the results so I put it away.  Since the opening of The Art Establishment in Fountain Hill, PA ( just over the Bethlehem border), I’ve learned that my mistake was in not thinning the paints, using them straight out of the tube.  Acrylic paints work *much* better for me when thinned to the consistency of heavy cream!

After two wine and paint parties, I decided to try my hand at painting something original.  I laid down the background and foreground, then got a little stuck. I posted a pic on FB of the started picture and asked what I should do next, figuring someone would say something to trigger the right thinking that would led to the correct path on which to proceed.

I was not disappointed; a friend told me that the foreground looked like the cliffs of New Mexico, which just happens to be where Chaco Canyon is located.  Of course I immediately googled pictures of Chaco Canyon.

I need to visit Chaco Canyon on of these years.  When  I was driving for Charlie several years ago, I passed a sign indicating I was near Chaco Canyon and I became strangely emotional.  This happened every time I saw the signs for Chaco Canyon, and I knew it was a Place of Importance for me.  Sad truth about driving for a living is you seldom have time to stop and see the sights, so I never did.

It was surreal.  When I first laid the lines on the canvas, I made a fairly sharp dip in the center, but then I made it less pronounced because I thought it would look better less steep.  The first Chaco Canyon picture I saw was of cliffs that had the same steep dip as I originally drew.  To tell you the truth, it kinda freaked me out a little that I was drawing something from an area where I had never been.  The idea grew on me quickly, though, and since I do believe in reincarnation, it started to feel normal by day’s end.

I’m still stuck, but now my problem is deciding which path to take with the picture.  Do I paint from memory/imagination, or do I find a picture to guide me?

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