Tag: Southwest

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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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.

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.