Another great project has come my way. About 5 miles west of Byron is a place called Prayer Rock. Some refer to it as Lincoln Head Rock because of a small formation near the peak resembles Lincoln's head on the penny. Anyway, Prayer Rock got it's name from the Mormon Pioneers who settled Byron in 1900 and began digging the Sidon Canal which to this day waters the farms of the North Big Horn Basin. It was and is quite a tremendous engineering project as they used teams pulling scrapers and diggers and wagons loaded with desert sand and rocks. They came to this great rock formation that was in the way and in order to maintain the necessary downward grade they needed to dig under this great overhang...a very dangerous proposition for those workers.
A lot of prayer went into the project asking for protection and safety. On a particular day, Byron Sessions, the ecclesiastical and project leader called all the workers who were working under the overhang to quickly gather up their tools and come up out from under the rock. Within minutes the great formation broke apart and down came hundreds of tons of sandstone and yet everyone was safe. Everyone there felt they had witnessed a miracle and gave thanks to God for His protection. There is also an eyewitness account that said that a day earlier Byron Sessions prophesied that within 24 hours the rock would come down. I think his skeptical son Bynie Sessions, pulled out his watch to see if "the old man" was a true prophet. And he was.
So what I have chosen to depict is not the crashing of the massive rock but the completion of this section of the canal and the first flowing of the water. A few weeks ago I sketched this charcoal drawing on a large canvas. Since Prayer Rock is so close to my studio I go out there frequently and stand on the canal bank making sketches of the lighting on the rocks at different times of day and of different angles.