Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sedona 07 - Day 4

Jerome, Arizona -- "Road Open 365 Days a Year" says the sign as you enter town -- reminds me of one of my old mountain haunts, Cloudcroft, New Mexico, but with more shops, galleries and restaurants. Whereas Cloudcroft sits on a plateau of sorts, Jerome occupies a hilltop, and it's a good idea to set your parking brake no matter where you stop!

I arrived in town around 8:30 and, having never been there before, I thought I'd scope out painting spots. However, the day was heating up quickly, and I saw all kinds of good stuff to paint. I enjoy painting old buildings, and Jerome has plenty of them. Before it got too hot, I set up my easel and went to work. Another reason I got started was the traffic. Most of the parking spaces were empty, but I sensed that they would fill quickly. Sure enough, by the time I finished, every space was taken. None of the vehicles, all modern-day sedans and pickups, made it into the painting. Putting them in would have spoiled the period of history I was trying to evoke. Here's my 9x12 oil, "Zip," so named because of the restaurant sign:

The restaurants of Jerome gave all the artists a free lunch. I had lunch at Haunted Hamburger in the Jerome Palace with Carolyn Hesse-Low and Michael Obermeyer. What did we artists talk about this time? Neither art nor the business of art. Because both Carolyn and Michael live in southern California, we talked about wildfire. Southern California is being ravaged by the fiercest fires in memory. Both artists have studios, homes and family that are being threatened. When I asked, they said it was indeed difficult if not impossible to focus on painting. I felt badly, because all I had to worry about back home was Trina and Saba getting lonely.

After a superb grilled veggie sandwich and nearly a gallon of ice tea, I headed out. My car thermometer read 84 degrees, so I thought I'd leave the sun and go to Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona. Surely that would be cooler, I thought. I stopped at Grasshopper Point and found a shaded spot right by the water. However, it didn't seem cooler at all. The still air and the canyon walls trapped the heat. I was sweating even in the shade. I liked my scene -- aspens and an Arizona sycamore beside the sun-dappled creek -- but I just couldn't pull it off to my satisfaction.

I'll post the painting below, despite my sense that it's not quite right yet. Consider it education -- I certainly do! I believe my problem was that I was equally interested in the glowing oranges of the water, the bright leaves of the aspens and the near-luminescent bark of the sycamore. Instead of pinning down one center of interest, I think I tried to have three! (Should I blame it on the heat?) I do think the painting can be saved, though. I will put it aside and take another look at it later. Here it is:

By 5 pm, I was beat. This painting gig is almost like a 9-to-5 job! Tomorrow, I have a full day of painting ahead of me, plus the frames I ordered (from King of Frame) will be arriving in the late afternoon. I'll have to pick them up and start wiring them, in preparation for framing. Do people really think that this art business isn't work?

Alaskan King Crab for dinner made up for everything, though.

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