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Secret Cliffs 6x8 Oil by Michael Chesley Johnson

Recently, I returned to live in a part of the world where I feel a deep spiritual kinship–New Mexico.  I came here originally before I turned to painting professionally, but now that I’m back, I am discovering places I hadn’t dreamed of finding.  Near the Zuni Pueblo and on the shoulders of the Zuni Mountains at 7000 feet, my studio and home occupy a point in the universe where the air is clear; the sky. blue; and the sun, intense unlike anywhere else.  For me, it’s coming home, and I’m looking forward to painting more of this landscape.

The location of “Secret Cliffs” is a short, perhaps 15-minute, walk from my home, if I scramble down a cliff and through scrub oak and pinyon.  It’s better to drive there, and then it’s only 5 minutes.  The lake depicted had been dry for awhile but filled up over the last two winters from snowmelt.  When I went out to paint this, the sun was going down and the waterfowl were tuning up for an evening of birdsong.  The place is gorgeous this time of year, autumn, and there’s a peace that lays over the land.

For a larger image and more detail, please click here.