Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Coming Squall

A Coming Squall
28" X 18.5"
Acrylic on a Cabinet Door

The rain often comes in the late afternoon and early evening. Most astounding, is when the rain marches towards us from the west, with a glimpse of what lies behind the coming shower—a band of sunset—gold, coral, and pink gleaming below the cloud layer. Above, is a different sky of water-laden billows framed by swaths of purple and deep blue where the light of the setting sun has been sealed away.

This piece is painted from memory on a salvaged cabinet door. I’m so glad I still have a few left. I love painting on this surface. I’ve been cruising alleys in town—ever on the watch for castaways to add to my “canvas” collection.

Tulips in the Sky

Tulips in the Sky
16" X 23"
Acrylic on a Cabinet Door

I’m not sure if I decided on this title because I’ve been obsessed with skies, or if it’s because there is no “ground” painted into this piece.

I started this painting back in spring. I was here alone, while Clint was somewhere between Colorado and California, hauling a trailer jammed to the gills with stuff that, someday, we’ll wonder why we moved.

It was a day where spring teases you: warm with a hint of what’s to come. However, once the sun waned, the lingering winter returned, and I ended the painting session wearing a sweatshirt.

The poor painting languished for months, sitting in the living room reproachfully reminding me that it wasn’t quite done. After a while, I added ground. I hated it. The tulips lost their light, dancy feeling, so I painted it out and left them floating, haloed in a haze of purple against a pale sky.

Luckily, acrylic paint allows you to cover over bad decisions (and regretfully, sometimes good ones).

By the time I was ready to finish this painting, we were well into summer; sweltering, the cool spring a distant memory.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A New Day

"A New Day"
14" X 10"

We hadn’t been camping in I-don’t-know-how-long—more than a year (the horror!). We planned to meet up with our dearest hiking and camping compadres near Flagstaff and camp near Sunset Crater. We were beyond excited.

The first day a few of us hiked up out of Lockett Meadow towards Inner Basin. It was steamy, but beautiful climbing the trail through the dense aspens. One of our younger hikers, 8-year-old Joe, said, “This place is like a dream.” It was.

The next day, we went from wandering Wapatki in the intense heat to shivering around the picnic table that evening as it poured down rain. In classic monsoonal fashion, the storm gathered itself for an afternoon show, starting with cracks of lightning and rolls of thunder that rattled your bones. A few close strikes had us involuntarily erupting in shrieks and squeals—quickly covered by nervous laughs. We huddled under a tarp for a cozy dinner—enjoying the adventure. Eventually it stopped raining and we lit a fire that somehow steamed into life. The stars were lovely, but after several hours of cold and wet, warm sleeping bags called our names. After we’d snuggled in and called out “Goodnight John-Boy” tent to tent, it started to rain again, a soft patter off and on through the night.

In the morning, we found blue skies and I seized the opportunity to paint this meadow, glowing green from recent rains, framed by the San Francisco Peaks still shrouded in clouds. Later, once again the clouds thickened and gave us a bit of rain. But by the time the dinner dishes were done, the skies had cleared, giving us plenty of time to sit around the campfire laughing together as we had so many times before. 

Come morning, we packed up to go our separate ways: our friends heading to the west, while we turned to the east. It was so hard to say goodbye.