In an ongoing appreciation of the ubiquitous, the common, the endemic, or the mundane in nature, I find myself attracted to what are known as washes, gullies and here in New Mexico the arroyo.
As the landscape spreads ahead of me it speaks. I channel it as I move down the trail, a lot of the snow has melted back leaving a puffy and delicate crust under my feet and my prints are the first since the last snow. I’m headed down toward a nearby, no-name arroyo, it attracts me like a magnet. It pulls me toward it as if I were a drop of collected summer rain, streaming into the waiting bed.Today the arroyo’s mood is serene and benign, there is a crisp and clean look about its surface. Ripples and other irregularities in the bed rise clearly in the cold air and bright sunlight, the mood is inviting.
I’ve been in this same arroyo under very different moods. Sometimes quiet but expectant, as distant thunder booms in a leaden sky, will the rain flow this way? When? Better stay out. Another mood, one of rage, due to a violent summer monsoon, the muddy rainwater rushing by… carrying with it whatever it can, from empty plastic water bottles to bits of leaf and wood and I’m sure small insects and at times other wildlife.
These moods can flip so quickly; the rushing water passing with 20 minutes at times and leaving changed characteristics in its wake, always waiting to be changed again. These variable moods are the basis for my new group of watercolors of the common arroyo.
– Natalie Bieser