The desert expresses several moods to me, and I try to show different aspects of those moods in my paintings. Sometimes the mood is simply a straighforward one, with blue skies, bright sunshine, lots of space. Sometimes I focus more on the surreal and other times I prefer the dramatic, or even a theaterical, edge.
The image I've attached is a scene that I felt deserved a dramatic touch. This is Pinnacle Peak, Arizona, northeast of the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. The morning I was there, cloud shadows and spots of light covered the desert. I made the shadows more obvious. Although it's a little small and hard to see in this reproduction, the spot of light in the foreground illuminates a cactus wren, going about the business of finding tasty goodies to eat.
Unfortunately, also the last time I was there, the area was not as pristine as I painted it. The flatlands at the base of this mountain had become open to development, and one can no longer get a clear view of Pinnacle Peak from its south-facing side due to the houses that have been built there.