I went out to El Monte Park in Lakeside, California, with the San Deigo Watercolor Society for our monthly paintout. Although it is only 20 miles away, the feel of the area is of mountainous desert and it is very inviting to painters. El Cajon Mountain lifts straight up from the valley floor and dominates the view from the park.
Capturing a steep mountain strewn with cliffs, boulders, and foliage requires a lot of simplification. I decided on a low horizon and a minimal sky, leaving most of the paper for the mountain itself. The decision to have only a tiny strip of foreground left very little space for indicating that it was a beautiful spring day. After some indecision, I went with a sweep of green across the valley floor and guessed that this would work.