Tag Archives: WY

Green River Float 2013

_MG_2246Toward the end of July, _MG_2245I took the family on a 6 day adventure with Dvorak’s Expeditions. It started with a short drive over to Grand Junction where we stayed in the Grand Vista Hotel looking out at the Colorado National Monument at sunset. The next day we were up at the crack _MG_2319of dawn to board a small passenger cessna aircraft which flew us 45 minutes to the north and west of Grand Junction. We landed on a small plateau overlooking the put in at Sandy Wash on the Green River in Desolation Canyon.
We first strapped all of the rafts together into a giant floatzilla and motored for about 15 river miles on the first day. The _MG_2478weather was absolutely perfect the entire trip and a light haze in the air kept the heat from being sweltering! I thought the first day was interesting and could see the reason for the namesake of the canyon, Desolation. We were in the middle of NOWHERE and there wasn’t much vegetation outside of the watercourse. The canyon walls looked to be a crumbly kind of sundried limestone. We did spot a small herd of wild horses on the Ute Indian Reservation side of the river.
The second day of rafting I found the canyon to be a bit more sculptural. The rock turned from limestone to sandstone and I thought this to be more aesthetically pleasing from a painting standpoint. I ended up doing both a painting at our stopping point that night and one in the morning. The morning one was right in the direction of the Groover which I did not know and probably embarrassed a couple _MG_2359of river rats.  This one is called “Groover View” in the painting gallery below._MG_2441
On the second night of the trip and after a few on river water battles, the group was forever bonded in our floating adventure. The food on the trip was absolutely stellar. We had five guides for the almost 20 of us so everything was taken care of and we ate like kings and queens. I snapped pictures while floating during the day and tried to paint like a madman as soon as we stopped for the evening and as everyone loaded the rafts in the morning.
_MG_2332By the third day everyone knew the drills and was on task. My mom and I took duckies out on this day and had a blast running some of the whitewater in the canyon. A few of the other river rats got a hold of my camera one night and had a little fun!!IMG_2483
Some of the haziness in the weather created a flat light on some of the evenings, so I painted trees and other subjects on those days. While the sun set over the canyon walls, a few of us got into a pretty impressive bocce ball tournament. Not a moment later while listening to one of the guides, Nathan, strumming away on the “guit-fiddle” an adolescent bear thought he would like what we were eating at camp…happened to be salmon on this night!! We jumped up and made a lot of noise like a bunch of savages, and the bear took for the hills!
_MG_2460The 4th 5th and 6th days were the best of the Desolation and Gray Canyons I thought. Along the float we stopped a couple of times to see petroglyphs, old homestead cabins and farms and a really refreshing tributary called rock creek.  I think it’s so intriguing to think about the recent history (last 100+ years) and the ancient history of the watershed. Native Americans must have found the place bountiful and probably wandered and traded goods up and down the canyon and beyond. Not to mention the formation of the area in the super ancient geologic history of this river.
If you ever get a chance to do this float, I highly recommend it! Artist or not, you will enjoy yourself very much. I would calle Dvorak’s Expeditions to book a trip as soon as possible and especially if you have young ones in your group. There are sandy beaches the entire way, the water temperature was about 70 degrees, and the area is stunning. Please also enjoy the body of work below from the trip. Check the availability of the paintings by using the navigation bar above.

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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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