Warm, pleasant weather continued Thursday as we prepared to head out to the ghost town of Grafton. Last time we were here, our group went there on the very last afternoon not with the intention to paint - all the gear had been packed up as we prepared to depart Zion - but to explore. As we drove down the road past turnoffs for Smithsonian Butte and the Grafton Cemetery, we were treated to stunning views of ragged-top buttes, cottonwood-clad arroyos and the distant peaks of Zion Canyon. And Grafton itself turned out to be a treasure - four or five buildings from the past in a picturesque setting of green pastures edged with split-rail fences and mulberry trees. We vowed to paint there next time.
After breakfast and the morning critique, we headed out. The road had more pavement than I remembered, and then, as we got close to Grafton, a lot more dust than I remembered. The last mile or so was composed of some fine dust that seemed like FFFF-grade pumice; and it was several inches deep and as slippery as snow. A breath of wind stirred up a huge cloud of it. We had our all-wheel drive Subaru, but the others had low-clearance rental cars. We all made it, but the cars were amazingly dusty. (Later, we found that the dust had penetrated every cavity of the car.)
|Last Year's Rattler|
|Grafton Church, 9x12 oil|
Back at our house, some of us spent time making adjustments to earlier work. I found a bit of shade and enjoyed adding or correcting a brush stroke here and there. My problem is that often I don't put deep-enough darks in the foreground; in the field, I have a hard time judging those darks and often deal with them later. They're important for creating a sense of depth.
|Virgin River Cottonwood, 12x9 pastel|
|Painter from British Columbia|
|The "Sundance Kids" at lunch.|
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," starring Paul Newman
and Robert Redford, was partly shot in Grafton.