I am now at the Grand Canyon. I'm here for the Grand Canyon plein air painting event, which runs from now through Saturday, September 17.
I arrived around lunchtime and, after checking in with my hosts, explored for a few hours before our orientation session. I didn't feel like painting just yet, but more like taking photographs. Although I'd been to the Canyon only last April to paint, I thought it would be a good idea to get back the feeling for the lay of the land.
I visited Yavapai Point, where the geology museum is located, and Mather Point, home of the new visitor center and Grand Canyon Association bookstore. (The GAC is the organizer of the Celebration of Art's "Plein Air on the Rim" event.) I was surprised that, at the start of a weekend, there were still parking spots available. But the number of visitors do drop off after Labor Day at most tourist destinations. Still, there were plenty of people around, very few of whom were speaking English.
I must have walked three hours. The skies were beautiful. Unsettled weather -- we're still in monsoon season -- caused some magnificent thunderheads to build up over the North Rim, a few miles away. I also caught sight of a condor. Many people don't know it, but the National Park Service has re-introduced condors to the area. They are the largest bird in the world. But against the backdrop of the Canyon, they look quite tiny.
At orientation, I got to meet some of the other artists and to find out about the week's schedule. (View the schedule here.) I caught up with my friends David Haskell, Gregory Hull and Bill Cramer, too. I'm looking forward to painting with them and the other artists.