Monday, August 26, 2013

New Painting: "Silver Ledge"

I FINALLY finished a new painting that I was frantically working on to enter in an exhibit. I still gave the piece all of the TLC it deserved, but I think I've been painting more than I've been sleeping!

Silver Ledge, 18" x 24"
Silver Ledge is the name of the mine -- or what's left of it -- that sits a little south of Silverton, Colorado along the Million Dollar Highway (aka Hwy. 550). Behind the structures lies the sprawling Chattanooga Valley which used to hold the small town of Chattanooga (not to be confused with the one in Tennessee!). The town was destroyed in the late 19th century, but I haven't found a definitive reason for how that happened: it was either by avalanche, flood or fire. In any case, the town was never rebuilt and only a few buildings remain there today -- none visible from this vantage point.

Far in the distance sits Bear Mountain. Much of the region displayed the glorious golden yellows of fall aspen, but this view seemed to show few aspen and lots of Colorado blue spruce.

The Silverton area was known for producing lots of mines, many of them silver. But the Silver Ledge's primary commodity was tungsten. It also extracted smaller amounts of gold, silver, lead and zinc.

The painting shows how the mine looked the last time I was there -- September, 1997. I understand efforts were being made in 2010 by a preservation group to prevent further deterioration of the minehead and also to cleanup the tailings which were leaching lead, zinc and copper into Mineral Creek (which runs below the embankment on the left and off into the Valley).

I've been wanting to paint this image for almost seventeen years -- and I've finally done it! It isn't the desert, but the site is in southwestern Colorado and we can see lots of distance from this spot. So it fits my tagline which you would find on my website and on my business cards: The Vast Spaces of the Southwest!


Enzie shahmiri said...

I love both the painting and the idea about vast spaces of the southwest. Great work!

Mark J said...

Thanks, Enzie! =)