I am currently working on several paintings that I started as demos of techniques for my students. The above painting was one of these. I prepared a surface to work on using a mixture of gesso and water and scratched and swirled the medium around with a credit card to create texture and movement. I lightly sketched my composition on the dried surface. I have painted rocks before but never so many! I was intrigued with the shapes and the shadows and the way the elements had worked on their surfaces. I chose a piece of Arches 140lb rough and some of that texture was still evident poking through the gesso. This helped to add to the roughness of the surface of the rocks. As I was working on this, I began to wonder what a canyon scene might look like on masa paper and put it on my to-do list. At some point, I deviated from my original photo reference and used rock forms from several others to create the background.
If you wish to try this technique, I’ve explained how to prepare the surface in this post here.