Friday, September 16, 2011

Grand Canyon Plein Air on the Rim - Day 7

(Thursday, Sept 15)

Morning came with drizzle, and if you listened very closely, you could hear 30 artists sigh all at once.  The weather certainly has been a challenge!  But by the time we got out to our appointed painting zone, the rain had stopped.  Little scraps of cloud drifted lazily in the dark Canyon.   Clearly, I wasn't going to finish my sunny-day painting at the 1730 million-year mark.  So, I set up near El Tovar where I could get coffee and started a new one.  I did a nice little painting of the drifting clouds, but then the Canyon experienced a rare phenomenon - fog.  It suddenly become completely filled with it.   I felt like I was back on Campobello Island, surrounded by the ocean.  And it wasn't long before El Tovar was enveloped, too.   In the photo below, my painting is "before" and what's behind it is "after."

The fog came and went.  I took many photographs of this sublime event.  Finally, as a fine drizzle began to fall, I found a rocking chair on  El Tovar's front porch and had a cup of coffee.  With still some time to paint - 10 was the deadline - I set up near Bill Cramer on the edge and did a 5x7 of a pillar of rock with a little tree atop, the whole thing jutting up out of the fog.  After looking at this painting later, I decided not to post it.  I paint a lot of fog on Campobello, and this one just didn't cut it.

Randy Higbee, King of Frame (, was in town to deliver frames to the event, so I went to pick up mine.  I'd met Randy earlier around dawn on my rim walk past the El Tovar.  Although he'd never seen Grand Canyon before and was no doubt disappointed at the lack of a glorious sunrise, he appreciated the unique photo op the weather provided.

Next, it was home to finish framing.  Here's the line up on the porch.  (At the end of the post are individual shots.)

I drove off to deliver my pieces to the Kolb Studio.  When I got to the parking lot, a terrific hail storm ensued, so I sat in my car for ten minutes.  After it passed, I opened my door to find I was parked in about eight inches of water.  After hauling my paintings in - and breathing a sigh of relief - I took one last drive up Hermit Road, since my pass was still good.  I ran across Joshua Been and Bill Cramer, each trying to make one last painting before the turn-in deadline.   Evening was coming on, and the light was beautiful, so I decided to join them.

 The day ended with a screening of Ed George's film, "Chasing the Light," which features painters Bruce Aiken and P.A. Nisbet on a rafting trip through the Canyon.  It was fun to see the Canyon from another perspective.

Tomorrow:  The Much-Feared Quick Draw.   Now, here are the paintings I'm entering.  (Five 9x12s and two 5x7s.)


Pam Holnback said...

So enjoying all of the GC posts!

from Felicia Barnes said...

I have waited each day to see and enjoy your paintings. Thank you so much for sharing them. Your work is beautiful. Excited to see your "quick draw" tomorrow.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thank you so much, Pam and Felicia!

daniela.. said...

Would love it if you win. I feel as if I have been taken on a wonderful journey, all the while you have been keeping us posted.