No. 16 – The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Illustration by Jonathan Chapman

No.16 of my 2018 world series challenge is the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park was officially designated a national park on February 26, 1919. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the park is located in northwestern Arizona. The park’s central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered one of the Wonders of the World. The park, which covers 1,901 square miles, receives almost six million recreational visitors each year. For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The Grand Canyon itself is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and attains a depth of 6,093 feet. Nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the river and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock.

Here’s my little colour study of the Grand Canyon, celebrating the glorious range of warm tones captured in the sun baked rock of Arizona. I particularly like the deep reds (more burgundy and purple in places) with the striking blue ribbon of the Colorado River running through it. The line work makes this image a bit abstract in places… but sometimes I enjoy that effect. I could imagine this being quite a challenging jigsaw puzzle! It’s easy to focus on the big cities of North America, but the landscapes are vast and wondrous. I hope some day that we’ll have the opportunity to take a long meandering road trip through these States.

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Next up: No.17 – The Grand Canal Venice