Extreme Watercolor

“I live in southern Colorado in the San Juan Mountains, an old range with high valleys and rounded, wizened mountain forms,” says Stephen Quiller. “Fifty miles to the east, across the San Luis Valley, is a newer range, the Sangre de Cristo, whose jagged forms provide a backdrop to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. One gray, squally March day, I set up my palette within sight of this incredible view of the Crestone Needles and Kit Carson Peak.

Crestones, Late March (watercolor, 26 x 20 in.)

“I was attracted to the chamisa and dark piñon in the foreground, which perfectly framed the rich red mountain and the magnificent receding peaks above. The inclement weather not only provided a neutral gray tone that set off the color of the mountain, it also added the challenge of wind and misty droplets that left their mark in the sky wash. I like when the elements actually make their way into the painting and let the viewer know the piece was done en plein air. These are the days I live for!”

In the winter, Stephen Quiller cross-country skis with his sketching materials most late afternoons.

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