Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Grand Canyon-Bound

After the Rains 16x24 Oil by Michael Chesley Johnson
For the Celebration of Art invitational, artists will display a studio  painting at the
exhibition.  This is mine, and you can see (and buy!) it at the beginning of the week
at the Kolb Studio.

Ever since Colonel John Wesley Powell rode the wild horse rapids of Grand Canyon's Colorado River in 1869, artists have struggled to depict the canyon's transcendent grandeur.  The struggle doesn't always show up in the finished painting—and most of us artists are happiest when it does not—but as someone who has made the attempt, I can say that the struggle is always there.  But personally, I find the effort to be immensely satisfying, whatever the outcome.

And that is why I'm heading out to the Grand Canyon this week.  This will make my fifth time attending the Celebration of Art, which also marks its 10th anniversary this year.  I'm looking forward to seeing old friends, making some new ones, and to enjoy whatever the canyon throws at me.  Over the years, I've seen everything from incandescent sunsets to fogged-in dawns and daily monsoonal storms hurling lightning while I paint at my favorite spots.  Whatever comes, it will be beautiful and memorable.

Painting Grand Canyon in 2016

Here's a summary of the events:

  • Artist Demonstrations and Plein Air Painting - September 8-13, 2018
  • Welcome Gathering - Friday, September 14, 5:30 p.m.
  • Quick Draw - September 15, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
  • Quick Draw Auction - September 15, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Exhibition Grand Opening - September 16, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
  • Art Exhibition and Sale - September 16, 2018 - January 21, 2019, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

There's much more scheduled, including a demonstration by me (Monday, September 10th, at 10 a.m. at Desert View Watchtower), but you can see the full schedule here:  https://www.grandcanyon.org/events/celebration-of-art-2018/

Dawn at Grand Canyon

Like the other 23 invited artists, as I paint during the event, I'll be letting the Grand Canyon Association know my location via text.  If you want to find me, check in with the GCA at any of their shops along the South Rim, and they'll tell you where I am.  I tend to get started early, break in the middle of the day, and then paint again in the late afternoon.  The lighting is best for painting at these times.

If you can't come to Grand Canyon personally, you can follow me here on my blog, on Instagram, or on my Facebook studio page.  I'll try to engage in social media as much as possible—but of course, I'd rather be painting!

I hope to see you there!

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