This year’s Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, Plein Air on the Rim was somehow even more amazing than last years!! The organizers seem to have the midas touch on this show. It never seizes to amaze me how much support the GCA is able to create for this noblest of causes. Every year, this is the fifth, the Grand Canyon Association holds this show as a fundraiser in order to build a permanent venue for the Grand Canyon’s amazing art collection. They have accumulated a collection that can rival some of the best museums in the world of Grand Canyon art through donations, artists in residences, and acquisitions made by congress in the formation of the National Parks. They have Bierstadts, Thomas Morans, Edgar Payne, and countless others. This permanent venue will be a public museum for guests of the canyon to enjoy
forever. Plein Air working for the public interest in the largest and most popular of all of the national parks. I just love being part of this “GRAND” idea and vision put together by the Grand Canyon Association. Plus the skies parted and the rain stopped for us the entire week!
This year the GCA had me and Robert Dalegowski go down to Phantom Ranch for a couple of days of the event. I hired the Mule cowboys to take a camping duffle down for me so I wouldn’t have to carry all of my painting and camping gear. Well, I had never been down to the Colorado River before then and was spellbound by its eternal beauty. I painted four paintings on the way down. ‘Zoroaster from the South
Kaibab,’ ‘Yaki From Skeleton Point,’ ‘The Bright Angel From Skeleton Point,’ and ‘Phantom Ranch’ can all be found in the body of work gallery below. The other paintings where you can see the river closely were also done from the adventure down there. I had a blast getting to know the very talented and scrappy 68 years young, Robert. This guy had stories from the canyon and beyond that could captivate a room of A.D.D. teenagers, and has explored every nook and cranny of the canyon in his 50+ years of Grand Canyon exploration. He was painting in watercolors and I highly recommend checking out some of his work by clicking HERE! I ran out of panels
after two full days of painting around Phantom and hiked and painted on the way out too. The hike out was spectacular because just as I emerged from the basement rock and through the tapeats formation, the sun was setting on Zoroaster, my favorite monument out there (you’ll see painting after painting of it in my body of work). Then the moon rose and I continued up from skeleton point by the moonlight. Stellar.
For the rest of the week I spent my time on the rim painting into the blue abyss. As you will see with my body of work, I am continually captivated by the interesting interplay of light and dark shapes (click HERE to read my updated artist’s statement). The Grand Canyon creates the most stimulating light and dark shapes of any place I’ve ever been to. One of the days up on the Rim, Dave Santillanes (click HERE) was pointing to the stands in
expectation of cranking that painting out of the park!! Bill Cramer (click HERE) was doing his usual shenanigans, and we all wore ourselves out with our heavy intake of alcohol at night, and early rising to capture the sunrises each morning….artists are a different breed!!
I’ve never witnessed a quickdraw that draws more attention or support than the one at El Tovar during this event. There were hundreds of people and the auctioneer did a phenomenal job of keeping people’s interest and getting those prices up. The GCA broke the previous year’s record with this quickdraw and the totals for 25 artists was 38,000 in sales!! The show opening of all of the work we’d done hadn’t even happened yet. The opening gala reception was another record breaker. I ended up selling 13 paintings including the quickdraw and got voted for the event’s top award, Artist’s Choice “Best Body of Work!!” I was very surprised because of the quality of work and artists in this show it could have gone to anyone. I am so honored by this and I will cherish this award for my life!! James McGrew (click HERE) also did very well in the awards department. He took the people’s choice at the quickdraw and the Plein Air magazine award also.
Enjoy the award winning body of work above (Artist’s Choice; Body of Work). For availability use the navigation bar above and browse to my available paintings.