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5th Annual Land Trust of the Upper Ark Benefit Show

Click the poster below or HERE to see the available miniature paintings!


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Red Rock Plein Air Loop 2012

It’s a bitter sweet exit from the often blustery conditions of Colorado in October to bounce around through red rock country of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. Bitter because the cottonwoods start to peak along the Arkansas Valley near my home in Salida, CO, and I think it’s one of the most beautiful times of year to be here. Sweet because the weather is perfect in the desert southwest, not to mention the stunning vistas and intimate canyons of RED ROCK COUNTRY!! After a full workshop here in Salida at the beginning of October, I packed the  Starry Starry Night (my modified Casita camper trailer) with all of the panels, frames, and paint in order to do 3 plein air events in 5 weeks.

Plein Air Moab was the first of the events and is an open event with over 100 artists coming from 11 different states (I believe this was the final count). Plein Air Mob-scene was more like it. It would be great if the mob scene was collectors and not artists though unfortunately. The sales at the event were less than desired, however one goes to this particular show knowing this. Pricing and quality were all over the board, there are good painters charging nothing, and amatuer painters charging too much. Only my opinion here, and who am I to judge.. all I ever advocate is an alignment with your personal supply and demand, but there are a lot of mis-aligned artists out there. Also Moab is a recreational UBER area and I think most people, and not unlike many areas of Colorado, have a more expensive full suspension mountain bike than the vehicle they are driving…Or ALL of their money is sunk into a 4×4 crawler of the likes you can see if you search: extreme 4×4 crawlers, Moab UT  on Youtube.com. Long story short…Phenomenal. People were great, artists were great, area is second to none for painting, and even though the sales during the event were a bit light, I haven’t a single painting from the area left. Paintings of Moab sell!!..just not in Moab very often. It’s no fault of the event coordinators either because they are ON IT and put together a very fine event given the over bearing and under fun-having theocracy currently ruling the state. Anyway below is the body of work from Plein Air Mob-scene. As you can see, I am spellbound by the stranger than fiction, Arches National Park.

After Moab, where I hooked up with two good friends, Carl Ortman, and Richard Skutnick, the three of us continued our journey south to Monument Valley. I had about 4 days to kill before I was scheduled to teach a 3 day workshop before the Sedona Art Center’s annual invitational plein air event.  The two paintings at the beginning of the Moab body of work are from this time in Monument Valley.

After getting on the road to Sedona, between Kayenta, and Tuba City, the Starry Starry Night had a wheel bearing burn up. I was jamming to some Jurassic Five havin’ a good ole time when I get a call from Carl,” Dude pull over immediately.” So I did. Smoke still emerged from the hub. It had been a while since I’d packed a vehicle bearing, so I called my go to mechanic, Dad. He described in detail the mechanical nuance of the situation, and we jacked her up and took the assembly apart. Had to drive back to Kayenta for parts. We put it all back together, packed the thing with grease, duct taped the end so no dirt could get in there, and down the dusty trail we once again were!

The workshop in Sedona went phenomenally.

The Sedona Plein Air Invitational went good but not as great as it once was. I’ve heard a lot of theories about why art sales in the Sedona area have fallen off a large red rock cliff. One interesting theory is that the Visitor’s Bureau has focused too much attention on attracting people interested in so called “Vortices” and other esoteric supernatural forces of the area, and those people aren’t interested in boring representational paintings of simply just the scenery. Another, is that the collectors that support the Sedona Art Center are worn out, and they have all of the paintings of red rocks that they can stand, especially when the window out of their great room has a real-life rock formation in it (albeit with other multi-million dollar mansions peppered around the base…another problem, another rant, another day). The best though is that when the housing market is stagnant, so are art sales. Anyway. The event is a good one and well run, but they have been trying to re-invigorate a slowly waning show in times that prove tough for every artist. Still managed to sell about 8 paintings there.

I also show in Mountain Trails Gallery in TlaquePaque along Oak Creek in Sedona, and things that did not sell at the plein air show get schlepped over to the gallery and are on display there… Please take a look if you’re in the area as it was one of my favorite bodies of work: “Cactus Dance”, “Desert Staircase”, “Flood Resistant”, and “Allen’s Bend” are among some of my favorite paintings to date.

From Sedona, Carl and I made our way over to Zion National Park. We again had a couple of days to kill, so we took another scenic route in which we stopped by the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We stayed in the secret National Forest area near Grand View for free and painted for a couple of days in the area. I re-supplied the Grand Canyon Plein Air on the Rim show at Kolb Studio with a couple of new goodies and we pressed on. We arrived in Zion National Park a day or two early as I had an engagement with a couple buddies to explore a few of the technical slot canyons. We painted for those days and I got a bunch of ideas for paintings to do during the plein air event.

My bros Edmund Rudell, an Army buddy, and Frank Seaman, former framer extraordinaire, met me in Zion. We got our permits to run Mystery Canyon, The Subway, and Pine Creek slots and outfitted ourselves a bit for the colder-ish time of year to be running slot canyons. Below are galleries of photos taken with a GO-PRO camera of the slots to give you an idea of how insane and worthwhile it is to get out into nature and witness some of the Universe’s original art!!
Mystery Canyon:

The Subway:

Pine Creek:

After all of that rest and relaxation, I was mentally and physically ready to paint for the Zion Invitational; In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran. We had perfect weather all week until the quickdraw event when it snowed, blew, and occasionally the sun would poke through the clouds…MY KIND OF PAINTING!! I spent 4 sunrises on the switchbacks looking back at the face of The Sentinal working on “In the Shadow of Mount Spry.” I was captivated by the abstract qualities of shape and edge relationships. For the rest of the days I’d buddy up with Bill Cramer, or Dave Santillanes. Over all, it was a good show, a lot of interest, but once again, not stellar sales. Well run, just not a clean out feeding frenzy as I’ve seen shows be, and would expect this show to be. Anyway, a great time and an area I will always look forward to painting. While in Springdale, I did a bit of gallery shopping and got picked up by the DeZion Gallery there. Below is the body of work from this show. If you’re in the area please stop by the gallery.

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Northwest Road Trip 2012

5000 Miles of perfect weather, scenic beauty, and the whole family to share it with. We left Salida at the end of July for Driggs, ID for their inaugural plein air open event across Teton Pass from Jackson Hole, WY. When we arrived we were given a quick tour of the area by the event director, Julie Robinson. The area was stunning, a painters paradise for sure. I kept remarking that Driggs seamed like a sister city to Salida in that there was a substantial river running through the bottoms of the valley, mountain backdrops, a ski area similar in size, vertical drop, and distance to Monarch Ski Area and a thriving recreational tourism economy. Julie had done a phenomenal job of organizing this event and the town seemed to really welcome the artists to their area. I taught a quick two day workshop which went nicely as I got accustomed to the new surroundings.

We, of course, had the casita camper trailer in tow and we bounced around the valley. We stayed in full hookup campgrounds every 5th day or so to dump and restock, otherwise we were off the grid and up one of the many wonderful watersheds coming out of the Teton Mountain Range. We spent about 9 days in the area crossing Teton Pass a couple of times and spending some time also in Teton National Park. In the park, we rented a canoe on Jenny Lake and had a blast with Madison helping paddle around the shores. We hiked up Cascade Canyon, Hidden Falls, and Inspiration Point. Also while in the area, we went to go see the Carl Rungius show of his larger wildlife paintings and field study paintings at the National Wildlife Art Museum outside of Jackson Hole. I got a kick out of getting in to his head a bit and seeing his outdoor studies. Bob Kuhn stole the show though with his energetic draftsmanship and technique, I thought. I’m a new big fan of Bog Kuhn’s acrylic paintings of wildlife and was especially surprised to see some African wildlife depicted also in his body of work.  While spending some time in Jackson, I approached Mountain Trails Gallery there on the square. They ended up taking about 7 paintings and I will now be represented in Jackson Hole by them.

Driggs treated me well with Scott Christensen giving me a 1st place prize in Oils, getting a People’s Choice and Artist’s Choice for my body of work, and People’s Choice in the Quick Draw!! Be on the lookout for my half page advertisement in Southwest Art Magazine which was part of the win!!

Below is the body of work from Driggs, ID (but don’t stop there, read on for the rest of the trip below the Driggs body of work):

From Teton National Park, we spent a couple of days in Yellowstone touring the geysers, hot pools, and waterfalls. We spent a day at the Old Faithful geyser and area so that Maddie could see that icon. Be on the lookout this winter for some paintings done of this amazing National Park.

From Yellowstone we drove along the Clarks Fork River in southwest Montana, through Idaho’s panhandle to Washington. Across Washington on the HWY 20 was spectacular. Eastern Washington reminded me a lot of Colorado, until we arrived at Northern Cascade National Park which at that time of year (dry season) was hard to beat. The park was incredibly vertical with river sized waterfalls at every bend, falling through a lush rain forest. I’d never seen such a wilderness and was taken by it immediately. We spent about 4 days in Northern Cascade National Park hiking and barely scratching the surface of the offering before we needed to move on the the coastal regions.

I participated in the Plein Air Painter’s US Open show held through the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island, and needed to check in to the school for the event. There were a couple of artists up there I’d met in their travels through CO earlier in the year. Alfred Currier, and Anne Schreivogl were welcoming as well as one of the locals on Whidbey Island, James Moore.

As far as the Plein Air Painters US Open show goes, I definitely feel it could use a little help. There were a couple of major problems in addition to a very uncommitted feel from the director, Lisa Bernhardt. For one, the sale happened at James Moore’s house which was very nice and accommodating, and a ton of work putting up faux walls and lights, but very exclusive also, and I felt for this reason hurt the attendance. Also there was the kiss of death where only three paintings could be shown and changed out when one sold. This is difficult for an outsider because they don’t necessarily know what kind of scene is in favor or what to pick to hang on the wall. This can be easily dealt with if there is a back room for people to mill through the other paintings created for the show. But there was not space or desire for this as someone might actually do more sales than someone else (heaven forbid) and an ego could be crushed along the way. There was also a minimum price of 400.00 in order to “train” the buyers the worth of original work. This is absolutely preposterous. You can not train a buyer any more than you can change the market. People have or have not the means to buy artwork. If they like a painting and the price is right, they will purchase but these minimums on price are only in place to protect artists that have their work priced too high, bottom line…period. It’s pathetic really. Anyway, about 12 paintings sold on the sale evening and 5 were mine… so get out your notebooks people and take notes on how a really good event takes place.  Or not, and continue to put together a mediocre ego-fest as you wish. Not that I would get invited back given this scathing review, but I will not be going back to that event. I will say that the paintability of the area was phenomenal, and with or without an event, I will be back up there to paint more!! Below is the body of work from Washington and Oregon.

From Whidbey Island, WA we crossed Puget Sound to Port Townsend and continued our trip to the Pacific Ocean. We spent a night in the Forks area where we took some hiking trips to the beaches around Lapush and also the Hoh Rainforest. Some incredible painting and site-seeing ensued through our coastal route. We stopped again near Cannon Beach, OR and spent a couple of nights in the area. One of the hi-lights to this Northern Oregon Coast, was Smuggler’s Cove. Simply incredible!! After the dunes of the central coast, we headed back east on our way back to CO. A great trip, and I think we had two afternoons and one morning of rain!!

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