Practicing Red Rock painting

Tom and I are going to raft the Colorado river in May on a plein air painting trip so I am trying to simplify my painting process and palette.  First I need to take smaller bites; I really liked this reference photo but since I will be working on 9 x 12 wallis paper, there's no way I can do that much detail.

So I cropped the photo to find the most interesting shapes, evocative colors and interesting angles.

I sketched in the large shapes on Kitty Wallis sanded paper taped to foam core

Using a small Winsor Newton travel set of watercolors I washed on the loose under painting.  As I watched the paper buckle I realized I will need to mount all the paper onto foam core before we leave.

Here's the painting...not horrible though I should have made the back wall of the canyon cooler so it would sit back better....well, that's one down and a couple dozen to go.  I hope to have a lot of fine small paintings to sell when I get home - so I can afford the next trip!