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).
A view in the late afternoon on a crest just below the old Rosemont Ranch:
I am documenting the area through oil painting studies done plein air:
The study completed, in the 1 hour left before the sun sinks below the hills to the West:
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).
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:
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.
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.
My heart goes to all of the displaced and adjusting victims of Sandy, and hope for adjustment and peace.
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 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.
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.
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.
The mysterious red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. Inspiring in all weathers.
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.
Even the standing majesty of the sycamores, alder and oaks catch electric light.
I begin a pastel sketch while the sky is still a benign blue.
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.