Open Studio under the Full Moon

Full Moon Open Studio is this Tuesday, at my studio in the Metal Arts Village, Tucson. I will be featuring this painting, a recent oil based on studies made of a special place in the wash at Rancho Linda Vista in Oracle, AZ.

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In studio paintings, I like to let the mark making and color fly. Abstraction meets representation, and the painting becomes something more than the original study, which is more often than not painted on site.

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Above is the small plein air study made of this prehistoric waterfall, mainly of the little top section, a very intriguing boulder conglomeration. This piece is 12 x 9″. The studio painting is 24 x 36″.

Plein air outing at Ruby, AZ

Ruby, Arizona, one of the largest and oldest ghost towns in Arizona, and a destination for a recent painting trip on a sunny February day.

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The atmosphere of the town lent itself to an inspired afternoon of wandering and exploring, and finally settling down to paint a view of the Mill, with Montana Peak behind.

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The mill, shed and Montana Peak.

Stages of the plein air study, beginning with a yellow ochre underpainting, building up layers of colors until finally a 2 or 3 hour painting was as complete as it was going to be.

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“Ruby”; oil/canvas, 10 x 8″

Then once more checking in on the Schoolhouse before we go back to Tucson.

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Painting at Cochise Stronghold at the Horse Trail

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Another wonderful visit to Cochise Stronghold in southern Arizona. We found our site to set up easels just before the park land. There was a cozy spot in the shade, near a little horse trail and an abandoned stone ranch house.

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Starting the oil painting, I’ve blocked in some of the middle tones, and shadow fall on the boulders above.

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Closer view of the beautiful boulders that Chief Cochise of the Apaches had his last stand.

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Final view of the finished painting. It was a beautiful warm day, the intense heat of southern Arizona summer fading a little.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve, and the Nature Conservancy.

Located within the upper basin of the San Pedro River basin, Ramsey Canyon is a paradise for birding, nature watching, and plein air sketching and painting. It’s nice to compare the seasons as they unfold.

Fall colors along the San Pedro river, at Ramsey Canyon Preserve in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona.
Fall colors along the San Pedro river, at Ramsey Canyon Preserve in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona.

Last November as the leaves were in full color, we took advantage of a great opportunity to take the easel and paints out to the Ramsey Canyon nature preserve. The sketch was really about the brilliance of the color, and the forest environment.

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A couple of months later, we returned to the preserve, and set up easels next to the beautifully running creek.

January at the canyon.
January at the canyon.

The light is gorgeous, the water running at a steady clip. Being mid-day, the sun was going to steadily move down, but we figured we had 2 1/2 good hours to paint..

Beginning sketch.
Beginning sketch in ochres to set up values.

The goal was to catch the light on the running water, the movement and transparency of the water flowing over the rocks.

Finished 8 x 10" oil sketch.
Finished 8 x 10″ oil sketch.

Cochise Stronghold, Arizona

One of the most beautiful, tender and fragile locations of southern Arizona, Cochise Stronghold marks where the final Apache Chief Cochise defended his land.

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Visiting means paying homage to as well as honoring the sad history and memory of the Apache tribe. Recently with monsoon rains, it was necessary to pay a visit to the magical waters in the creek nestled within the canyon. The creek was running steadily.

Speckled light and delicate trickling of water. We also spotted bobcat prints and smelled au de bobcat scent.
Speckled light and delicate trickling of water. We also spotted bobcat prints and smelled au de bobcat scent.

The breeze was cool coming off the waters. Being a weekday, there were no other visitors to the campsite, making the quiet of the forest powerful. We stuck our feet in the cold water and made a little sketch.

Small pencil drawing in the creek.
Small pencil drawing in the creek.