Monday, September 10, 2012

Grand Canyon Plein Air on the Rim - Day 3



I've never seen the Grand Canyon quite like this.  Everywhere you turn, thanks to the summer rains, there is a beauty bonus.  Everything is blooming - apache plume, chamisa, Indian paintbrush, and countless other flowers I don't know the names of.   I haven't included any in my paintings, but you can bet I've included them in my photos!

We had another great start to the day.  It was cooler - 52, according to my rental vehicle's thermometer.  I never mind a cool start.  (Today especially, since I slept a little later due to being worn out from yesterday's efforts.)  After coffee and a call home, I drove off to Yaki Point.  As I did yesterday, I sent a text message to the event coordinator of my whereabouts.  This information is made public so visitors can find the painters.  This time, however, I remembered to include who the text message was from!  I forgot yesterday.  Visitors love to see painters in action, and I hope I didn't disappoint too many.

View fromYaki Point 12x16 oil

Yaki Point is one of my favorite areas.  With nearly 360 degree views, you can find good shadow at any time of day.  Shadow is very important in canyon painting; without shadows, the Grand Canyon becomes a flat piece of cardboard painted in pastel tints.  Early in the day, I painted on the west side, and then as noon drew near, I painted on the east side.

Linda Glover Gooch and Paul Kratter

Glenn Rennell

As I painted, I was serenaded by an unseen osprey.  (I'm very familiar with the calls of both osprey and bald eagle, which are fishing birds, from painting around Campobello Island.)  I also spotted another condor but, better yet, several painters!  I checked a few more off my life list:  Linda Glover Gooch, Paul Kratter, Jim Wodark and Glenn Rennell.  Some of these I've already checked off, but it doesn't hurt to see them in their native habit more than once.


One new thing I'm doing this year is writing on each painting the GPS coordinates of the location at which it was painted.  This means that if you buy one, you can use your GPS to get within a few meters of where it was actually painted.  Now, as the informed collector knows, few painters create a photographic rendering of a scene.  Things get left out, things get moved, or things get added from a scene the painter saw a half-mile away.   This happens more, though, in studio paintings, where the artist has more leisure time to design.  In the field, these changes happen in a more minor way.  At any rate, part of the challenge of this kind of plein air painting - that is, painting in a national landmark - is to make the painting look like the actual scene.  It'll also help me if I decide I want to go back and work more on a particular painting.

Looking Down from Yaki Point, 9x12, oil

As an example, here is a painting I did at Yaki Point with its latitude and longitude. You can search this on Google Maps, too.  Just copy and paste the text string "36° 3' 29" N, 112° 4' 52" W" and search.  The view is even better in Google Earth.

Mather Point Afternoon 9x12 oil

After a break for lunch, I went back out.  This time, I decided to brave the crowds near Mather Point.  I set up a little to the east where I had a view of Mather Point itself and the conveyor belt of crowds going down to the overlook.  I got my picture taken several times.  "Can I take your picture?" most ask.  I say, "Sure, but you also have to take my card" - and I give them a postcard with a Grand Canyon image on it and my website.  (If you look closely, you can see the people.)

Joshua Been

Bill Cramer

To cap off the day, I took a walk and ended up near Yavapai Point where I ran into Bill Cramer and Joshua Been.  They were finishing up and the sun was setting, so we all went down to a private perch Bill had found and watched the sunset from there.  Get three painters together to watch a sunset, and you'll hear all kinds of interesting talk.  Most of the time, we were trying to figure out what kind of green that was we were seeing in the sky holes of the clouds.  It was fascinating to watch the colors of the canyon change as dark deepened.

Sunset was followed by a visit to the Pizza Pub at Maswik Lodge and then home to bed.  Where to tomorrow?

3 comments:

Dave Casey said...

Wish I had time to run down and see you and the others. Looks like a fabulous time.

Susan Pitcairn said...

Nice pieces you're doing, and it's interesting to read of the doings.

Michael Carney said...

Loving these posts. You take me back to one of the best trips I made into this wonderful landscape.