Wednesday, May 7, 2014


My rock-climbing son-in-law tipped me off to Kolob Canyon, a group of finger canyons in the less frequented NW corner of Zion NP. A crisp Sunday morning with fresh snow coating on the peaks found me up early trying to make a special painting out of breathtaking scenery. I spent about 6 hours on three paintings there. This is my last and favorite. When my shoulder started hurting I was finally able to stop painting. This one was done about 6000 ft above sea level.

The wildlife I saw on this great spring trip to Mojave (the smallest and driest of US deserts) was numerous: birds which I could mostly not identify except for jays, wild turkeys, blue herons, roadrunners and black chinned hummingbirds. Mule deer, desert cottontail, black tailed jackrabbit, amargossa pupfish, the aforementioned kit fox in Death Valley and red racer in Las Vegas. I saw some other unidentified wild life in Vegas, too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Nevada had been a challenge; wind, wind and more wind, which, of course brings dust in the eyes as well as a vigorously shaking easel. Stubbornness and sheer resolve urged me to set up my easel early one morning on a mesa
above the Virgin River Valley.  Hanging on to my painting and easel with one hand and trying to hit a moving object with the right color in the right place led to a rather abstract little landscape.

I love the complimentary colors of the bright green irrigated hay fields against the red dirt and rocks.

Cattle are scarce this trip to the southwest. Drought has sent them to market, I guess. The next ones won't be so affordable?

Back in Las Vegas with a few hours to kill I found Springs Preserve Botanical Garden . The garden is free. The museum and native animal exhibits have a fee. IMHO, it is the best thing in Las Vegas, since the art museum closed, although there is still Cirque du Soleil. So I was quietly sitting on a bench sketching the cacti when I saw a slithering 40" pink snake moving slowly and directly from one cactus raised bed to the next one. Sorry, I don't have a photo. It obviously did not see me. We were close! It was identified for me by the education center as a Western Coach Whip (commonly known as Red Racer). Pretty.

Monday, May 5, 2014


The April day that I arrived in Death Valley National Park the temperature at the Visitors Center was 93(F).  The dry hot wind was a balm to my thoroughly disgusted self after the winter that would not quit here in Vermont. In this vast other-worldly place I took my cue from the map and headed out to Artists' Drive and the many-colored rock walls. I looked and looked and chose my location to face into the setting sun as opposed to the lit up walls...beautiful, but not as interesting to me as this backlit view of mountains, rock and dry little bushes. 

I dawdled over packing up. The road was empty now and the silence of Death Valley mesmerizing. A true desert lover I wanted to be alone as night fell over my little moonscape. Finally, I slowly started my car on the return to the lodge. Almost immediately I startled a kit fox. She/he dove back into the den. What a lucky glimpse of a shy little animal. 

That is not the only time silent stillness paid off on my Eight Days in the Mojave Desert tour.

This is a 9x12 pastel painting and is for all the others not marked otherwise.