Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Four more...

Doing a lot of work in preparation for two upcoming shows next month. I will be part of a show at the Division Street Frame Shop on May 10th and the Phippen Show Memorial Day weekend (see March 17th post below). Lots and lots of business stuff to do as well, but the painting has to come first!

Thumb Butte Moonset 20x24 oil/panel
A Favorite Trail 11x14 oil/panel
Cave Creek Spring 16x20 oil/panel
Sunset and Rain 16x20 oil/panel

Monday, April 14, 2008

Two New Grand Canyon Paintings

Here are two new paintings I completed last week in the studio. I was drawn to the high contrast between the foreground and background that is often seen at the Canyon. Presenting that contrast in a convincing way is a real challenge. The trees in the top painting seemed to be as much in awe of Isis Temple as I was, so I titled it "Temple Worshippers". The lower one is titled "The Slippery Slope" and is actually the larger of the two (the top is a 16x16 and the lower is 24x36). You have to be very careful on the rim when there's snow and ice. The day I was there I had to guide two visitors back through an icy patch when they went out a little too far and were uncertain of how to safely get back up to the trail. I hope getting scared was worth the pictures they took, it might have cost them a lot more.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lookout Studio at Grand Canyon National Park and Montezuma's Castle

A couple of new paintings to show. These are my first serious attempts at painting buildings. I've been asked why I don't have people or buildings in my paintings (ie. the lone horseback rider, barns, cabins, beat up pickup trucks, etc.). I know there are times when the addition of a man or man made object might give a sense of scale to a landscape, but I guess I like my landscapes without such things. In much the same way, I'd rather not see other people when I'm out hiking. Not that we humans aren't natural creatures or that we don't belong in the wilderness, but the scale of our disruption of the environment can hardly be seen as natural. We are great at coming up with ways to do things, but rarely do we foresee all the potential consequences. Maybe we're too clever for our own good. (Stepping off soapbox now...) I think I decided to paint these buildings because they are more organic. It's as if they eroded from the rock and were inhabited by people afterwards. Anyway, they were fun to paint and I am inspired to do more. There's a lifetime of ruins to explore in Arizona!

The top painting is Lookout Studio on the south rim of the Grand Canyon at sunset. This building, also known as The Lookout, was designed by architect Mary Jane Colter and was built in 1914. She also designed three other buildings on the south rim - The Watchtower, Hopi House and Hermit's Rest. I really like how she uses native stone and imitates the look of the local Native American ruins. I think this building is the best example of her south rim work, too bad it's located in the middle of the busy south rim "village". I wonder what it would be like if it was located all alone somewhere else on the rim and you had to hike in to get to it (and it was my private studio...)

The other painting is of Montezuma's Castle near Camp Verde, AZ. This large cliff dwelling was built by Pre-Columbian Sinaqua people around 1400 AD. Built underneath an enormous overhanging cliff, this five-story complex contains 20 rooms and once housed about 50 people. It sits up high on the cliff and you can only look at it from a distance. I like ruins you can actually go into, but this one is still an awesome sight.