O’Keefe Inspired

Our recent trip to the southwest included a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Back in my studio I am finding new inspiration from my memories of the trip and, particularly, the entire span of O’Keeffe’s work.

This is a small oil just completed that I call Violet Flowers. It’s only 4″ by 12″ (almost the size on your computer screen), but packs a lot of intensity in that small canvas.

Violet Flowers

Now I’m working on bigger pieces inspired by the trip.

Paul

Posted in Art, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, Santa Fe, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Morning Walk

It was 49 this morning for our walk. Storms last night with lots of wind and rain. I love the drops on our garden plants.

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And the wind didn’t topple a new rock sculpture in our neiborhood park.

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Drawing class day is off to a good start.
Paul

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

One More Picture

Just one more picture sent to us by our friend, Kathy, in Flagstaff. She joined us for a wonderful day at Marble Canyon. This is Jean and me standing on the banks of the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Cold water and hot sun!

Paul

Posted in Arizona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon | 2 Comments

Home and Art Recap

Two days of driving brought us home last night. Of course the most difficult part of the trip, the worst traffic, and the worst drivers all happened in the hour plus it took us to get from the Bellevue city limits to our home in north Seattle. Denver at rush hour was nothing compared to Seattle on a Saturday afternoon! Go figure.

Anyway, we arrived safe and sound. Today we are unpacking, doing laundry, rescuing our gardens from three weeks of neglect, and I’m practicing ukulele for tonight’s rehearsal with Ukestra Seatte.

This was a trip with many new sights, happy memories, and lots of new people. We met our nephew’s family at the wedding in Colorado and got to spend time with Jean’s family. In addition we got to be with Jean’s sister, Pat, for her birthday! In Flagstaff we spent time with our friend Kathy and visit sights in the area. Finally, in Santa Fe, Flagstaff, and St. George Utah we saw many places new to us. The Marble Canyon in northern Arizona was beautiful. We enjoyed a great day in the “back door” of Bandelier National Monument. A day at Ghost Ranch revitalized our interest in returning there to paint. Bryce and Zion National Parks were totally new to me and as impressive as their hype. We definitely want to spend some extended time in the SW doing some serious painting, so stay tuned for future adventures down there.

Although our visits with family and friends and our going on excursions every day limited our time to do art. However, we did manage to sometimes grab a quick sketch along the way. Here are a couple I did in a few minutes in Santa Fe.

I did a few very quick water color sketches of landscapes.

And I experimented with pastels as a quick sketch medium. I used several different surfaces to see how easy they were to use for quick pieces.

Finally, perhaps the most fun was with a little box I bought at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. This is Zen art requiring only water and a brush. It lasts for a minute or two and then disappears! I love it!

Now it’s time to get to ukulele practice. Tomorrow I will get into my studio to paint.

Paul

Posted in Arizona, Art, Bandelier National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park, Flagstaff, Ghost Ranch, Grand Canyon, New Mexico, Santa Fe, St. George Utah, Travel, Uncategorized, Utah, Zion National Park | 1 Comment

Bryce Canyon

Today involved more red rock canyons. We headed for Bryce Canyon National Park, stopped along the way at Red Canyon, spent several hours at Bryce, and drove a scenic route along the south edge of Cedar Breaks National Monument on the way home. When it comes to rock formations our cup (and our memory chips) runneth over!

Red Canyon

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Bryce Canyon has many options for exploration. Like Zion, there is a shuttle system. However, the Bryce shuttle only covers about 1/4 of the park. Working on the assumption that 75% of the tourists would use the shuttle we drove to the end of the road, well beyond shuttlers. What we got were uncrowded trails and beautiful views for which we did not have to jockey into position among dozens of other tourists. At over 9,000 feet the air was naturally air conditioned at about 70 degrees!

Of course, Bryce is about the rocks. I like to show them with the trees to illustrate the perspective and highlight the colors. I also try to snap as many pictures of Jean as she will allow.

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Today I got to scratch an item off my bucket list – the bristle cone pine. One of these trees is the oldest known living individual of any species! The ones we saw today were a mere 1600 years old. The oldest bristle cones are 5,000 years old. Makes me feel quite young.

When the bristle cone begins to die some branch or root will take over and generate a new tree. In this way it keeps going for millenia. The skeletons of old dead trunks are beautiful sculptures atop the red cliffs.

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Of course I couldn’t resist my usual close ups.

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Late in the afternoon we left Bryce and drove southwest to Cedar Breaks. I had noticed a scenic route on our map and it was beautiful. Utah highway 14 follows the southern edge of Cedar Breaks over a range that had us just a few feet short of 10,000 feet. Snow covered the meadows at that altitude. The views along this route are worth the drive.  Alas, since I was driving I have no photos to share. It is a narrow road with limited opportunities to stop.

After spending the day at those air conditioned altitudes we returned to our condo in St. George where the temperature was 101 degrees.

Quite a day!

Paul

Posted in Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized, Utah | 5 Comments

Zion National Park

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Visiting Zion today is a bit like visiting Disneyland – be prepared to ride crowded trams. Cars are not allowed!

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The transportation system works well, but is overcrowded most of the day. Parking is a problem even outside of the park. We arrived early and parked just outside the entrance. A short walk took us through the pedestrian gate and to the Zion Shuttle. Later arrivals parked a few miles from the entrance and took a town bus (free) to the park.

Zion National Park is all about the interface of rock and water. Water continues to erode the rock, creating sand and soil. That allows plants to grow – the third element of the park. These three combine for gorgeous views every way you turn. We took three different hikes to experience the canyon.

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Zion is also about people – lots of them. (Click to enlarge)

A surprising find was the abundance of flowers. The water creates mini-environments where you can find everything from cactus to marsh reeds. Here are some of my favorite flowers.

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We stopped for lunch in this quiet spot beside the river.

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After lunch Jean did a little sketch.

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We took time for selfie with the cliffs.

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At the end of the day we rested under the trees by Zion Lodge with several hundred other people.

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Then we rode the shuttle back to the entrance, cooled off our very hot car ( it was 96 degrees today), and drove back to our cool condo in St. George.

Paul

Posted in Art, Photography, Retirement, St. George Utah, Travel, Uncategorized, Zion National Park | 3 Comments

Moving On

Today was our day to leave Arizona and see what Utah has to offer. We drove north from Flagstaff to Marble Canyon, which we had visited a couple of days ago.

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California condors and rafters were on the river. We got photos of the rafters, but only saw the condors from a great distance. A woman who works for the Peregrine Fund was there to monitor the condors. She pointed them out and let us use her binoculars.

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Next we drove along the Vermillion Cliffs for many miles, gradually moving away from the Colorado River.

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Turning westward, we ascended steep slopes onto the Kaibab Plateau. The weather changed abruptly to cool and cloudy with distant thunder and lightning. We only got a few drops of rain. Smokey joined us for lunch.

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We stopped briefly at Pipe Spring National Monument, an historic site where a natural spring was the focus for years of conflict among the Paiute tribe, the Morman Church, the State of Utah, and the federal government. The monument is now administered jointly by the Paiutes and the Dept. of Interior.

Vistas in this area are amazing.

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We arrived at St. George about 5:00 and set about to settle into our timeshare. Tomorrow we visit Zion National Park!

Paul

Posted in Arizona, Photography, Pipe Spring National Monument, Retirement, St. George Utah, Travel, Utah | Leave a comment

Oak Creek Canyon

Yesterday we followed Kathy to one of her favorite spots, an overlook at the head of Oak Creek Canyon. This canyon is somewhat unique because in addition to being formed by a stream flowing through it a fault line runs the length of the gorge. This slip fault has resulted in the eastern side of the canyon to be many hundreds of feet lower than the west side.

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This little park features an Indian crafts bazaar,

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and a short trail along the rim and woods.

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I had a good time taking some close ups of items along the trail.

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Of course I never pass up the opportunity to photograph Jean.

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It was a nice lazy afternoon followed by a drive to Williams for a return visit to the Red Raven restaurant. We ate there a year and a half ago and loved it. It hasn’t changed and the food was terrific once more.

Paul

Posted in Arizona, Flagstaff, Retirement, Travel | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Marble Canyon

We thought about going to the Grand Canyon today. However, predictions were for 1-2 hour waits at the entrance, no parking, slow traffic. Instead we decided to go to the part of Grand Canyon National Park that fewer people visit – Marble Canyon. We set out with our friend, Kathy, to visit these red rocks.

The park was extended for just a half mile or so on each side of the river eastward to the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. This includes Marble canyon. Grand Canyon begins after the Little Colorado River joins the Colorado River. Therefore, this beautiful canyon just upstream cannot be called Grand. However, John Wesley Powell dubbed it Marble Canyon because he thought the polished sandstone was as beautiful as marble.

Here are a few photos of our adventure. Click on an image to enlarge it.

There were no condors present today, but I did manage to catch a local crow/raven watching us for possible dropped food.

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The road ends at the bottom of the canyon at Lee’s Ferry, an historical site and the preferred launching site for Grand Canyon raft trips. Here’s a group packing their rafts for departure.

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It was a grand day that began in Flagstaff at 32 degrees and peaked at Lee’s Ferry at 93!

Dinner was at Delhi Palace, a top rated Indian restaurant in Flagstaff. What a great day!

Paul

 

Posted in Arizona, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, John Wesley Powell, Photography, Retirement, Travel | 4 Comments

Next Destination – Flagstaff, Arizona

Today we packed our bags and left our Worldmark condo in Santa Fe. Six hours later we were at Walnut Canyon National Monument just outside of Flagstaff. Although we have visited before, this unique cliff dwelling location always has something to offer.

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This afternoon we discovered that the main trail down into the canyon was closed for repairs. They were hurrying to complete the work for the busy Memorial Day weekend. Therefore, we had to content ourselves with a cliff top walk and long distance views of the ruins. I made myself busy taking photos of the many flowers blooming.

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I also found a couple of other interesting plants. Here is an extreme closeup of a yucca.

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And here is an extreme closeup of the native grass that loops as the end dries.

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We are now settled in our motel room (no timeshare for us in Flagstaff). Tomorrow more adventures await. Now it’s time for ukulele practice.

Paul

Posted in Arizona, Photography, Travel, Ukulele, Uncategorized, Walnut Canyon National Monument | 1 Comment