Collection: Iao Valley, 1995

Iao Valley began as a commission. I was asked to paint anything in Iao that caught my attention. I headed to The Valley determined to find something to paint other than the needle. I was there only about an hour before I realized that I needed to change my plans. The Needle is relentlessly compelling. Its beauty is a matter of scale. This is why I did the piece 5' x 7'. From the foot of The Needle one feels small but it fools the eye for a time because the huge valley walls make it look petite. After a moment's inspection of the vegetation along The Needle's flanks, you realize that what appears to be shrubbery are actually full grown guava trees. The Needle stands 2250 feet tall. The towering walls surrounding The Needle frame it like a gem in a giant jewel box.

Another feature of the valley is the serendipitous light. At any given moment, the sun can break through a puka in the clouds that form over the valley and blaze down like a search light. The sun at the hour I rendered it did exactly that, etching a shadow of the Needle on the wall beside, rising to disappear in the mist. Painting Iao Valley was a lesson in expecting the unexpected.