We are slowing inching our way toward warm weather. When we woke up in Bisbee AZ this morning it was quite cold. The elevation is 5,300 which matters a lot in winter. We’ll hit Bisbee again in April, on our way back through to Sedona for the plein air event we’re scheduled to participate in, and it may still be cold! After we left Bisbee this morning we headed south thinking warmer weather, and found an interesting looking place on the map called Rockhound State Park in New Mexico. We love New Mexico and we kind of like rockhounding. Well, it’s one of the coldest places we’ve been to yet with the exception of the Grand Canyon’s south rim end of October. The wind is the culprit at Rockhound. The landscape is beautiful yet strange and kind of lonely. Jagged mountains shoot up off hundreds of miles of flat plains and the range looks slanted like it’s being blown by the wind…it probably is. Now that we’ve come this far we’ll stay for a couple days, then head for Texas and stay south for the winter. It’s time to find a beach and paint a palm tree.
This is quite a stunning landscape we’re fortunate to be camped in! My painting is a product of true inspiration. Not just for the amazing awe inspiring subject before me, it represents a shift in consciousness. Coincidentally it happened on the same day the Dekota pipeline was officially declined access. Talk about inspiration! It took a lot for me to make this painting…hear me out. If not for the support and inspiration and strength of others it wouldn’t exist. It’s the product of so much more than me. Folks coming together to get shit done, is what I’m talking about. We can move mountains and pipelines!
We waited out the storm which brought some spectacular cloud formations and dropped snow on the peaks just above the red rocks. We tried to setup a couple of times, but every time, it started to rain. Weather report promised sun the next day so we headed for camp and returned to paint with Susan in the morning. The morning was clear and snow hung on long enough to paint it. Our new friend Sedona plein air painter Susan Pitcairn showed us many spectacular vistas and introduced us to Vince Fazio at the Sedona Arts Center who is a fine painter himself and director of the Sedona Plein Air Festival. We showed him our work and he invited us to participate! So, it looks like we’ll come back through in the spring. They also have a big plein air event in the fall that we will apply for and hope to get juryed in. Stock painted Sedona Snows from just a block off Main Street. It’s fascinating to be in a town with such dramatic landscape looming all around. Don’t know how anyone gets anything done.
We are enjoying our stay at the Grand Canyon. As usual we need more time, but the weather is chasing us out. To add to the immensity of our experience here we had the great pleasure of meeting Joshua Been a fine young committed plein air painter. He really is quite a force in the field of plain air painting. It’s inspiring to meet such people.
Tomorrow we head out…back with more Grand canyon photos and video soon! Check us out on youtube!
We are in the thriving metropolis of Bluff Utah, it’s on the way to Monument Valley. We were late getting out of dodge, and it was getting dark so took the available camp site. It was nice, quiet and reasonable. We made a run of about 40 miles out to Monument Valley Park. It was like riding shotgun with the Duke and yelling at Shane to come back. It’s so huge it is an amazing ten miles before you even get there. Since we paid to get in we drove the road if one can call it that, through the park. Sweet bjezzes, what a rock infested bumpy rut mongering mess. The weird part is it was packed with tourists driving like they were on the Baja 500 cross country marathon. They must have all had rental cars. Stopped at Artist Point and viewed the spot where a zillion paintings have been done, easy to see why. Too damn many people. We stopped on the backside and I did this. I think it is called Totem Pole.
The cave dwellings were thought to have been inhabited by the Anasazi, but research has determined that they were ancestors of the Puebloan. The first thing you think of when you see this place is how the heck did they water their crops? There are no creeks on the mesas themselves. Well, they didn’t have to water anything, they were dryland farmers, and the soil on the mesa is the perfect balance of sand and clay to hold water very well and the winter’s snow pack is kept in the soil until the monsoon rains of July and August. So at least back then the weather pattern watered the crops. Some speculate that drought is the reason they abandoned the area. In three or four years any stored food supplies would be exhausted.
We would’ve have liked to stay on awhile longer, and do more studies. The subject is challenging and very exciting. When we arrived there were only tree days left of the season. The park closes Oct.20th. Luckily we were encouraged to apply for an artist residency next season. Fingers crossed!
Here we are at Ghost Ranch! The enchanted land of Georgia O’Keeffe, where she did the bulk of her work. There is a spirit here that goes beyond the relatively recent history of the western world. As recent as 210 million years ago this place was alive with activity. In 1947 Paleontologists found the largest fossil deposit of Coelophysis bones ever found. Artifacts of the prehistoric cultures of the Tewa and Gallina are evidence that the Chama River has been inhabited for a long time. We’ve noticed that ancient native cultures seem to have been drawn to anomalies in the landscape. Not far south of here are extensive cliff dwellings. Ghost Ranch is a hub of activity to this day. There are retreats of all kinds, workshops in Geology, Archaeology, Paleontology, Calligraphy, Jewelry, Photography, as well as Painting, Drawing, Writing, Poetry, Pottery, you name it you can find it here. Oh, and an O’Keeffe emersion class! It’s quite a place, set in a truly magnificent landscape.