Tag: Landscape

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.

Hudson River Valley, New York

One week before hurricane Sandy hit, we had an absolutely bucolic experience in the town and environs of Hudson.

Being a transplanted easterner living in the southwestern United States, as well as a landscape painter, I longed for the soft green and dramatic splendor of Hudson valley October:  the fall colors. I set out to visit “Olana” the home estate of 18th century landscape painter Frederick Edwin Church. This was not just some estate.

The whole mountain is landscaped to allude to a pastoral and picturesque landscape, a view that Church used as inspiration in his work and continues to be cultivated according to his designs today. A picturesque view from the top:

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The spring fed lake in the distance, the majestic Hudson river in the distance, it is all a fine drama not to be believed. The glory and the power of nature. No surprise that Mr. Freddy was inspired to paint thrilling and meticulous monumental landscapes in oil, such as “Twilight in the Wilderness”, 1860.

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Sitting on a rustic bench facing the lake and river, I humbly sketch a little notation of the seemingly still pristine view, and thank the keepers of this beautiful place in our world.

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My heart goes to all of the displaced and adjusting victims of Sandy, and hope for adjustment and peace.

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?

Aravaipa Canyon, Spring

The majestic and awesome Aravaipa Canyon, in central Arizona.

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Can one even try to capture the raw beauty?

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(oil sketch, 6 x 12 inches).

A little further down the trail,

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with a view of the Cottonwood grove in the canyon.

A little pastel sketch begun,

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a little more…

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And then it’s time for a late afternoon Sycamore sketch in oil.

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The oil palette, very tidy.

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Aravaipa is so lovely in the late spring.