Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sunblock & Plein Air

"The Cuban Queen, Jerome - Open 365 Days a Year"

8x10, oil

The sun's been so intense, even in January, that I've taken to slathering on sunblock first thing after my morning shower. If I don't apply it right away, I forget - and that's a dangerous thing in these days of ozone holes and cancer genes gone wild.

I made a special effort to remember the sunblock yesterday morning. Our destination was Jerome, which is just a little higher than Sedona and sits perched on a 30-degree slope. It's an old mining "ghost town" that once boasted 21 bars, but which in recent years has resurrected itself as an arts community. Jerome never seems to have enough shade when I'm there. But one thing it has plenty of is hundred-year-old buildings tipping off their foundations.

I found myself a particularly sunny spot to paint this one. After I finished, I asked the Chamber of Commerce volunteer, who had come over to chat as folks do in Jerome, what the building had been. "Oh," she said. "That's the 'Cuban Queen'. It used to be a brothel."

As you go up the hill to Jerome, a sign says "Open 365 Days a Year." That seemed a fitting title for the painting.

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