Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Southwest Trip-Part 1

I have just returned from a vacation trip to the Southwest. We flew into Las Vegas, and drove all the way around the Grand Canyon, seeing the sights as we went. I am going to break down our adventure into several parts, as there is too much to talk about in one blog entry.

Day 1

We started our trip with a flight to Las Vegas, where the rental car agency upgraded us to a Toyota Prius. Based on how much driving we would be doing, we figured the gas savings would more than pay for the extra fee, and we were right. First on the agenda was to head to a supermarket and stock up on some food, a disposable styrofoam cooler, ice and cold drinks. We managed to find a Wal-mart that happened to be undergoing a big reorganization, and it was a challenge to find the coolers, but after a slight delay, we were on our way to Boulder City and the Hoover Dam.

The dam is certainly impressive, but the day was hot, and I was not prepared for the wind along the top of the dam. We didn't really have the energy for the full tour, but we paid a lower admission for access to the museum exhibits and the observation deck. As you walk in, they take your family picture against a green screen and later you can purchase a photo of yourselves in front of various settings--places in which you never actually set foot. We declined the pictures, and continued on our way to Kingman, AZ, our first stop on the way to the South Rim.

Day 2

We hit the road early after taking advantage of the hotel's continental breakfast, and drove east on Rt. 40 to the town of Williams, a major stop on the historic Route 66, and the starting point for the Grand Canyon railway. We stopped just long enough to poke around the souvenir shops and have a coffee break.

Soon we arrived at the Grand Canyon South Rim. We debated catching the National Geographic IMAX movie at the theatre outside the entrance, but we decided we would rather see the real thing. The most popular Mather Point viewpoint was closed off due to construction, so we parked near the Visitor's Center and walked a section of the Rim Trail, and easy, paved walkway along the top with many views of the canyon.

That's all I have time to post for now. To be continued...

Monday, June 14, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Peony Bud, oil on gessoboard, 8 x 8 in.
Available for purchase, $350.00

I have been photographing many things in the garden this spring, and I've been wanting to do a small series of paintings featuring simple flower elements. My goal is to bring something to the painting that I can't capture in a photograph, yet I want these to be luminous, detailed, with lots of contrast and stark, graphic shapes.

The first successful one of these is this white peony bud. Peonies are one of my favorite garden flowers, yet they are so short-lived. Cutting a few and putting them in a vase results in a shower of petals on the table a day or two later. I love the look of peony flowers just before they have opened up--the perfect roundness of the bud, it is such a solid shape, before it opens into a marvelously perfumed, delicate voluminous flower.

Flower paintings aren't the only thing different about this summer. I'm calling this the year of trying new things...from participating in a local theater production, to doing the bicycling leg for a relay team in a sprint triathalon.

The horse paintings are not completely in the background. I currently have on the easel an 18 x 36 in. oil of some working draft horses. There is a lot of fussy harness work on this piece, and I have been picking away at it for a few months now.
There is probably another couple of weeks of fussing ahead of me. I really don't like it when paintings drag on for this long, and when they do, they either get abandoned or I finally reach the point where I just have to knuckle down and finish them. This one has far too much going for it to abandon. And now, there are some more brass rivets that need my attention.