Tag: Arizona

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.

Protecting our Cultural and Natural Heritage

A group of artists and activists in southern Arizona are concerned about protecting the Santa Rita Mountains from the proposed Rosemont Mine. Below is a weathered outdoor map of the Empire and Cienega Resource Conservation Area, provided by the Forest Service (are the pock marks bullet holes? You see a lot of bullet holes on signs in Arizona).

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A Canadian company, Augusta Resource, is going through the process of acquiring mining rights to this area, and plans to mine for copper for the next 20 years. While mining is an Arizona industry, grand-fathered mining rights from the early 1900’s don’t necessarily reflect current needs to protect bio-diversity and cultural heritage. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/arizona-mining-project-wins-a-key-permit/

It is also questionable whether Augusta Resource plans to “flip” the property to another institution once the permissions have been made.http://www.ajelp.com/articles/not-your-fathers-mine-the-rosemont-copper-mine-and-dry-stack-tailings/

A view in the late afternoon on a crest just below the old Rosemont Ranch:

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I am documenting the area through oil painting studies done plein air:

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The study completed, in the 1 hour left before the sun sinks below the hills to the West:

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At risk in the area are: Recreation and Tourism (hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, ATV riding, taking a scenic drive); Biodiversity/Charismatic Species: Jaguar, Ocelot, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Gila Chub, Gila Topminnow, Desert Tortoise, Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Lesser Long-Nosed Bat. Plants: Huachuca Water Umbel, Pima Pineapple Cactus, Coleman’s Coral-Root, Beardless Chinch Weed, Wildlfe connectivity and corridors; Water/Watersheds: Diminished riparian areas of Davidson Canyon and Cienega Creek watersheds will affect ranching, vineyards, wildlife and vegetation; Cultural Resources: More than 4 Native American tribal farming and historic burial grounds; Business: Vineyards in the Davidson Canyon area; Pecan Industry in Green Valley; Ranching (Cattle).

Please visit: http://www.scenicsantaritas.org, www.LensOnTheLand.com; and www.skyislandalliance.org.

Historic Empire Ranch Arizona Part I

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A recent visit to the old ranch that was homesteaded in the 1870’s. Painting the ranch and landscape is part of a project to embrace the environment visually, as part of an effort to save the Santa Rita mountains and area from being devastated by the proposed Rosemont Mine.

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The ranch is lonely and austere, and kept up by the Park Service. The structure I’m drawing in pastel is the old Hired Man’s House, an adobe structure also from the late 19th century.

 

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Imagining the old west: cattle days and cowboy architecture. Wind, turkey vultures overhead and a glimpse into time that exists in the past, present and maybe the future.

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For more information about Empire, go to empireranchfoundation.org. To learn about the project that opposes the building of the Rosemont Mine, go to: http://www.Lensontheland.com.

 

The Land is the Space.

Landscape painting reminds me of what keeps me grounded and centered – connecting to the land and the wisdom and peace it offers.

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This beautiful image  above was taken by a friend who lives at Rancho Linda Vista in Oracle, Arizona, a magical place indeed. The Sonoran Desert is unique, dramatic, inspires inward journeys and (im)practical escapes. My dog Frida feels empowered too.

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I had a show of landscape paintings last month at the Ranch gallery, in the old barn dating from the early years of the last century.

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Some good people up from Tucson town listened to me talk about my process, the land, painting.

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Below, “Aspen Grove”, 5 x 4 feet, oil on canvas, somewhere between reality and abstraction, states of consciousness, the spirit of the wood.

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Terrifying Beauty

A new series of paintings includes one of an experience of an enormous wildfire here in southern Arizona in 2003: the Aspen Fire. My friend Chuck took this photo during the fire, looking towards the Santa Catalina’s, with Rancho Linda Vista in the foreground. Normally I never paint from photographs, but this one was incredible in it’s terrifying beauty, and took me 10 years to consider.

The Aspen Fire, 2003, Oracle, Arizona.

The reality of the experience was in the not knowing when the fire would end, what would be destroyed, when the monsoons would start. Black slurry planes flew over our houses en route to the core of the fire.

Recently when I sketched the experience in preparation for a large scale painting, I borrowed heavily from the composition of Chuck’s photo, but drew from the experience.

Colored pencil sketch.

Many months have gone by since beginning the final painting. Layers and layers of glazes and impasto, and finally I think it might be done.

“Seasons Series: Summer at Dusk”, oil on canvas, 4 x 5 feet, 2012.

The smoke becomes an abstraction as it pushes towards the Ranch. The sky looks clear against the black, grey and green of the smoke. The Ranch sits and waits.

Stormy Vortex in Sedona

The storm over Cathedral Rock comes closer in at 1:00 pm. The sky darkens.

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Before too long it’s time to skate along the side of the meadow to Oak Creek at the base.

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The water roils and churns, inspiring, the slabs of red rock lay flat.

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We dodge under some gentle oaks and watch the rain on the creek.

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After some time we walk slowly back to the meadows as the sun comes back out again.

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And start another sketch, this time in oil. The spirit of the ancestors has wound its way around.

Cathedral Rock and the Vortex, Sedona

The mysterious red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. Inspiring in all weathers.
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A recent excursion led us to Cathedral Rock, a sacred site where drawing and painting en plein aire only suggests the richness and power of Mother Earth.
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Even the standing majesty of the sycamores, alder and oaks catch electric light.
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I begin a pastel sketch while the sky is still a benign blue.
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14 X 11 inches on Pastel Board.
By mid-morning the sky turns threatening, and as if the Vortex surrounding the Cathedral could speak, the skies darken and begin to open up. We pack up, but stay in the gathering rain, enjoying the moisture. Who doesn’t appreciate the gift of monsoon?
More on dodging monsoons in Sedona and experiencing the spiritual Vortex later.
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Any other Vortex lovers?