|Devil's Garden Hoodoos, 9" x 12" Oil on Canvas Panel|
Last year I spent nearly the entire week at the Escalante Canyons Art Festival, but because of other matters, this year Escalante was put off until the last moment. I called on Wednesday to ask if I could still register for the plein air competition, and left at 5:00 the next morning for the long drive to southern Utah. Finished paintings had to be turned in by 7:00 that evening. Sandy Larsen registered me and stamped my canvas panels around half past ten, then I headed straight for the "Devil's Garden" where I did the painting shown at the top of this post. The painting was finished, framed, and turned in before 5:00 PM, well before the deadline. Later that evening I spent a little time at the artist's reception, then headed out into the desert to find a place to camp for the night.
Competition rules require that paintings entered not be signed until after the judging so as not to influence the judge's decisions. I wonder about the rules effectiveness, but of course follow it anyway. The paintings have to be signed before the "silent auction" on Saturday or they won't be sold. So, late Friday morning I drove back into town to sign my painting. Taking my little cherry wood pochade box into the exhibit hall, I signed my painting. Then Brad Holt, last year's winner and a featured artist at the show, asked if he could borrow my brush and paint to sign his painting. Of course I was happy to let him do that, and left him so I could go peruse the exhibit and visit with other painters there. When I returned to my pochade box, I found other painters had used my stuff to sign their paintings, too, and most of them were this years award winners! If I wasn't an award winner this year, I was happy to be of good use to those who were.
Later, I traveled out to a different place in the Escalante Desert to camp, once again under the full moon. That evening I did a painting in the little cherry wood pochade box and the next day painted two more before returning to the plein air show. There I found my painting had sold.