Sunday, July 17, 2016

Post-Utah [a recap]


So you guys... I went to Utah. It was grand, and majestic, and everything I imagined and hoped it would be, and I cannot wait to go back. My group mates were lots of fun, too... I went with a group of about 12 others, but I was an average of 45 years younger than the lot of 'em. Good thing I have an old soul... we all got along swimmingly.
Some of our group at one of the fantastic dinners made by our cooks!
From left to right: Jean, me, Jane, Ann, Wayne, Toni, and Sue
[not pictured, Laura, George, Diane, Carol, Joanna]

DAY ONE - The Thunderbird Foundation & Maynard Dixon's Ranch

On day one we drove down the road to the Thunderbird Foundation and Maynard Dixon's Ranch. Ann Thiermann, the trip leader, has recently become enraptured by Dixon's work (for good reason, take a look at it), and part of her reason for coming to Utah was to paint some of the landscapes that he also loved to paint. We got a great lecture on Dixon's work from Paul Bingham, founder of the Thunderbird Foundation & caretaker of the ranch, and spend the afternoon and evening painting.
A lovely view from Maynard Dixon's ranch house

Sunset at the Ranch
Watercolor Skies 9X12
Behind the ranch

Behind the Ranch - watercolor & colored pencil 9X12


DAY TWO - Zion National Park

On day two we drove through Zion National Park to get to the Springdale town park where we stopped to paint undisturbed for the morning. You guys, I am telling you, if you only go to one national park in your life, make it Zion. It is unearthly. I'm not going to post a bunch of photos of it (though I easily could) because they simply don't do it justice... it was SPECTACULAR, I say. I could have spend the whole week there, but we had more to do!

My selection of the cliffs surrounding Springdale
My finished painting, watercolor + colored pencil, 12X15[Buy it here!]
It looks so much smaller in the photo... these cliffs are massive

At the mouth of the Narrows

DAY THREE - Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

We took the morning off on Wednesday and spent the afternoon at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The lighting was incredible to watch, but difficult to paint because it kept shifting! I finally settled on some lovely rainclouds in the distance, and my favorite color palette of Utah - grays and sages and every shade of green. But I got some good photos of that fluorescent sand!
"Rain Worshipers," watercolor, 12X16 [Buy it here!]
Photo reference for later touch-ups
Not sure where the idea of "coral pink" came from, but the color was out of this world!

DAY FOUR - Red Canyon @ Dixie National Forest + Bryce Canyon National Park

On Day Four we left in the morning for Red Canyon at Dixie National Forest. It was GORGEOUS. The hoodoos (tall spires of eroded rocks) were lovely and less overwhelming to paint than at Bryce. We only got to stay for a little while before the weather turned. Thunder rolled and ice-cold rains came, and we bundled into the cars for the 18-mile drive to the Overlook point in Bryce. We still got a view of the whole valley despite the snow at the top of the canyon!
Watercolor of Red Canyon @ Dixie National Forest [Buy it here!]

Hoodoos at Red Canyon

GORGEOUS red rocks

A natural bridge in Bryce, carved out by rainwater

A panorama at Bryce Canyon

DAY FIVE - Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

We had an extra day to play with on Friday. Some went to do more painting, but I had volunteered at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary! I was with the horses, and my little group of volunteers got a great tour of the whole campus as well as a peek into the Hidden Lake on BLM land. It was great therapy getting to do some poop scoopin' and brushing some horses! We ended the day with a little more painting on the way home.

Great view from the buffet of a small portion of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
"The Disney Barn" as seen in a few of their films

The Hidden Lake. Apparently it goes for 17+ miles underground!

Also the most beautiful-gorgeous (and stand-offish) Mustang... I think his name was Charlie? Or was it Chance...

DAY SIX - Reviewing the week & our work back at the ranch

The main event on Saturday (besides relaxing, regrouping, and repacking before making the trip home the next day) was to take all of our work back to the Thunderbird Foundation for a final dinner & mini art show! It was lovely to see everyone's work all together in the gallery. And the Binghams made us a delicious dinner which we all enjoyed as the sun set.

The whole group at the Thunderbird Gallery!
Top [right to left]: me, Wayne, Diane, George
Middle: Jean, Carol, Toni, Ann, Joanna
Bottom: Sue, Jane, Laura

It was a fantastic week, and I can't wait to go back someday very soon. I learned a lot about making art outside (including the fact that I'm a better studio artist than plein air artist in my opinion!), and I really fell in love with those high desert landscapes. I'm so grateful to Ann for making it possible for me to tag along with a generous scholarship, and to my friends & family who helped pay my way to be able to go on this trip!

I'm still trying to earn back some of the money spent on/for the trip, and if you'd like to help you can always buy one of my pieces that I painted in Utah! I'll be listing the others later this week but there are a few available in my Etsy shop. Thank you so much for taking a look, and shares are always appreciated. ♥ Also keep an eye out for my zine about the trip, which will be a compilation of journalling from my sketchbook and progress shots, including things not published anywhere else!

I will leave you with this quote from Maynard Dixon, whose spirit was felt throughout our stay in this land he loved:
"You can't argue with those desert mountains - and if you live among them enough - like the Indian does - you don't want to. They have something for us much more real than some imported art style."

♥ Ciara

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