Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Arches National Park

12" x 9" Oil on Panel
A trip to the four corners area of Southern Utah to visit relatives last weekend also provided a chance for hiking and painting in the desert. Arches National Park isn't a place I'm really familiar with, but last weekend the National Park Service was allowing visitors into the park for free. I didn't want to pass up that opportunity.

After exploring around Saturday, I settled on Balanced Rock for my subject. In spite of it being the middle of February, I can't imagine better weather to paint in! When the painting was finished I explored a little more around the park, finally leaving after sunset.

Monday I returned to Arches N.P. for more painting. Unfortunately, and in spite of weather forecasts of sunny weather, I found the Moab area socked in with rain and snow squalls. I wandered around downtown Moab until the weather began to break, then headed back into the park. By then it was late in the day and the weather remained unsettled, not really clearing until shortly before sunset. For those reasons I left my painting gear in the car when I hiked to Delicate Arch. 

Up on the slickrock rim where Delicate Arch sits, a cold wind blasted all those visiting the iconic rock formation that afternoon. Twice tourists' hats blew past me and off into the desert. The hats blew by too quickly to catch. People from all over the world were there visiting the sandstone celebrity. Several photographers with their expensive equipment sat waiting for just the right sunset moment to trip their shutters. Time and conditions weren't conducive to plein air painting, but there's always time to sketch. I sat on the slickrock, pulled out a little sketchbook and a no. 2 pencil, and made a quick sketch of Delicate Arch.

4" x 6" Graphite Pencil on Paper.
I don't think I'm done with Arches N.P.

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