(fig 23 drawing/ small painting 4 of 4 )
tee-pees of a wellness and therapy center. On Fathers Day, Lee took us on a sunrise to sunset 4 wheel adventure. We saw everything north, south, east and west that he could cram into a day. The greatest thing about the gateway experience was the depth that the opportunity gave to spend so much time in a single area, and the chance to revisit special places in sequential seasons. It was an extremely challenging exercise. All of the elements heaped upon the burden of packing, lugging, and moving my equipment. Many of the field studies were painted off the back of an ATV, others were created under the protection of the back door of my SUV. Every morning was early, the days were long, and the winds and rains frequent. If you were not sweating then you were freezing to death (at least there are no bugs in winter). Food was a constant labor in itself preparing lunches and snacks to satisfy my never ending appetite. In the evenings, restaurant was closed by the time I returned from the back country. Microwave dinners soon fell short to the lunches. I am proud that I did not lose a single valuable piece of equipment, or drop a sketch into the dirt. Upon my return home from Gateway trips I would often need physical recuperation for a good 3 days before I could resume normal and effective studio production.
The process tempered me and I feel it honed my skills like no other experience could. It forced me to quickly learn and embrace a subject matter that I was less experienced with. Observation and trial and error were continually the keys to learning how to better depict the subtle harmonies of this southwest wonderland. It also revealed to me the drama of light in landscapes that few can ever witness outside of such a wild, remote and vast typography. I had so much time to be with my thoughts, to breath in the scenery, to read and study other kindred spirits in the writings/ paintings of artists I admire. of Inness, Cole, Church, Moran, Payne, Bierstadt, Gifford, Homer and Hill. Each was utterly connected to the views that they depicted. Each also depicted a quality of the life force, an artistic acknowledgement of God as the originator and central point of all life, and that everything in creation could be taken as evidence of the divine order of the universe
Nearly forty field studies were painted on location, in addition to the 8 commissioned pieces. All of these works have been added to the collection housed in the Gateway Canyons property. In addition, I continually am painting views from this year of discovery. To date, I have produced over 50 Gateway images, and yet, I feel it is just the beginning of what I might be able to voice of this land.