Southern Utah’s landscape has found a new and joyous voice in the plein air pastels of Scotty Mitchell. Mitchell’s drawings capture with fluidity and power the fantastical hues and silhouettes of its canyons and deserts. Rendered with pastel chalks, they recreate with startling clarity the illusion of sandstone’s tactile softness. Medium and subject are so perfectly matched that for a moment the viewer is transported into the landscape.The sandstone glows, the streaks of minerals rake down the sides of the cliffs, and the smell of sagebrush seems to waft into the room.
For the viewer who has never been to Boulder, it is almost like “being there.”Better than a photograph the drawings capture not just the stark surface reality memorialized in a photo, but the fleeting impression that flashes before ones eyes. The cliffs appear in all their radiance, unveiling the drama and subtlety of light and shadow, the fantastical brilliancy of color, and the tactile opulence and permanence of the rocks that have transfixed viewers since the days of the Anasazi.
Many artists have been transfigured by Southern Utah's landscape and attempted to portray its wildness in various media, but none have done so as lyrically or with such verisimilitude as Scotty Mitchell.
Excerpt from "Pastel Landscapes by Scotty Mitchell" by Jacqui Smalley