Park lands in the western states are being threatened on a daily basis. The natural beauty and stark intensity of desert lands just aren’t important to some people in power. The land is seen as valuable only in terms of what it can give up for money: mining, uranium, rooftops.
Close to my home are the Tucson Mountains, and the Sweetwater Trail, which still has National Park status, but lots of new rooftops dotting the pristine hills. I had a free day and went to walk the washes and animal trails just off the main human trail. Found a spot to set up and do an oil sketch.
It was so peaceful, yes warm because it has been the warmest recorded temps for this time of year, regardless of what some might say. But no snakes! Just coyotes howling a little in the distance and some birds rustling about.
This Friday, the September Full Moon brings again Open Studios at the Metal Arts Village. I’ve been working on some small studies in oil of monsoon water flows from the creeks around southern Arizona. Looking forward to some cooler weather now!
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.
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.
A couple of months later, we returned to the preserve, and set up easels next to the beautifully running creek.
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..
The goal was to catch the light on the running water, the movement and transparency of the water flowing over the rocks.
One of the most beautiful, tender and fragile locations of southern Arizona, Cochise Stronghold marks where the final Apache Chief Cochise defended his land.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.