Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sedona Plein Air Festival - Day 4

Wednesday began with a wildlife encounter. Although Sedona boasts of its high-end galleries, gourmet coffee shops and day spas, it has its share of critters. Nestled against the National Forest and wilderness areas, Sedona's streets serve as thoroughfares for nocturnal animals. When I went out of our casita at 5 a.m. to check e-mail in the gated courtyard where the wi-fi signal is strongest, I was pretty surprised to see a skunk! He didn't seem to mind, though, so I pulled down my mail quickly and retreated. Later that day, I spoke to a resident who said he'd seen bobcats, mountain lions and raptors in his neighborhood.

Wednesday was "Paint Jerome" day. Jerome is an old mining town perched on a mountainside overlooking Cottonwood. It once boasted 25 bars, but is now down to just two, which is probably plenty for the 300 inhabitants. It has lots of old buildings and classic vehicles in a variety of states of repair.

The town caught a bit of a breeze, so I didn't put up my umbrella. Although I kept my palette and panel in shadow, I was standing in full sun, and enough light bounced around to make it a little tough to judge the values and intensity of my paint mixtures accurately. I was happy to see later, when I re-examined the painting in a shaded spot, that the values were good. Here's my painting (9x12) of Jerome, painted from the mining museum and looking back at town:

Artists met for lunch at the Mile High Grill and enjoyed their burgers courtesy of Steve Vasari of Vasari Oil Paints. After lunch, Trina and I decided to head back to Sedona for some exploration. First we stopped at the galleries of two painter friends in Jerome, Cody DeLong and Mark Hemleben, both excellent plein air artists. Next, we stopped in Clarkdale at the Yavapai Community College gallery to see the work of Clive Pates. Clive is from the UK and is currently living and teaching in Jerome. I interviewed him recently for a magazine article.

After picking up a delivery of frames at the Sedona Art Center, we headed over to a friend's house for dinner, Carolyn Ensley, who is another fine artist and teacher. Carolyn arranged for us to meet Clive and his wife, Virginia, whom she also invited. I'd not met Clive before, and I really wanted to do so, as his plein air work is truly exceptional.

Dinner was quick, since Trina and I had to be back at SAC for a slide lecture given by Curt Walters. Curt has done very large plein air pieces over the years (60" and bigger) of the Grand Canyon and other locations. If anyone is Mr. Grand Canyon, he is.

Tomorrow is our final painting day. We will need to deliver 5 framed paintings by 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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