Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grand Canyon Plein Air on the Rim - Day 7

Have I really been at Grand Canyon a week?  Every day here is like a first day.  Morning dawns fresh and new, and you'd think you'd just arrived in the world.

This morning, all the painters were asked to be painting on the rim between Mather Point and the Trailview Overlook from dawn and 10 a.m.  That's a lot of territory to choose from!  I chose a spot with good parking and a short walk from the car.  For me, that meant Yavapai Point.  There, I found a nice little nook with a view of Zoroaster Temple in the distance and Yavapai Point in the foreground.

Zoroaster's Court, 12x16, oil

When you paint early in the day, shadows in the canyon change fast.   For this piece, I worked exclusively on the shadowed canyon before anything else.  I had to "nail" the pattern of lights on the rocky slopes around Zoroaster before they shifted.  Part of painting this area also required observation and memory work - I wanted to remember the subtle relationships of value and color temperature, even if I didn't record them yet in paint, so I'd be able to go back to that area later.  Once I'd done that, I was able to work on the view of Yavapai Point at a much more leisurely pace.

After the session, I headed home to frame.   All my frames, of course, had been pre-wired and were ready to go.  One might think that it's then a simple matter of slipping in the panels and applying the point driver.  Well, there's more.  First, I had to choose which paintings to frame.  (I liked them all, and  I'd painted five more than I had frames for.)  Next, I gave each painting a shot of retouch varnish to even out the gloss.  As I framed each piece, I gave it a serial number and a title, and duly recorded both on a sheet of paper as well as on the back of the panel.  Finally, I photographed the piece before putting it in a box.

After delivering the paintings to Kolb Studio, I always feel a certain sense of relief.  I imagine God felt that way after his six days.  But there's still more to do.  There's a Quick Draw Friday morning (9-11 between Verkamp's and the Kolb Studio), followed by the Quick Draw auction on the lawn of El Tovar and the Friday night Buyer's Preview, and finally the opening of the exhibition on Saturday.  The Quick Draw is probably the most intense - we'll have two hours to paint, frame and deliver a painting, all the while on display to the public.  But I don't mind.  Talking and painting are second nature to me, thanks to all the workshops I teach.

Now, it's off to an evening lecture with P.A. Nisbet, Bruce Aiken and Serena Suplee.  Below are the paintings I've chosen for the exhibit.

Colorado River Ravens, 9x12, oil

Indian Gardens View (top)
Yaki Tower, Clearing (left)
Isis Revealed (right)
All 5x7 oil

Kolb Studio Lookout, 12x16 oil

Mather Lookout Afternoon, 9x12 oil

Mormon Tea, 9x12 oil

Wotan  Speaks, 9x12, oil

Storm Rising, 9x12, oil

Yaki Point View, 12x16 oil


Susan Pitcairn said...

Nice work, Michael. Good luck at the sales events!

Jo Castillo said...

We were on the North Rim today. Maybe see you on Saturday!

Jo Castillo said...

Meant to add that your paintings are great. Congratulations on completing such lovely paintings this week.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Susan and Jo! Yes, Jo, stop in between 11 and 1!

Jo Castillo said...

Sorry we didn't get there before you left. Too many beautiful stops along the way. We have been so close to meeting ... one of these days!