I am a watercolor artist, who has not picked up a paint brush for two and a half years. I stopped painting around the time that my husband, Jim, was diagnosed with cancer. The grieving process is interesting and unique to each person traveling through this path. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked by the door to my studio or even walked in and then walked right back out again.
Early in November I had the opportunity to challenge myself and see if painting was something I still wanted to do. An invitation from the Grand Canyon Trust came in the mail to attend a watercolor workshop taught by resident artist, Suze Woolf, at Cane Ranch near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I decided this was the opportunity I had been waiting for. On September 28th I packed up my Roadtrek and drove east.
Cane Ranch is eleven miles in on a dirt road. It has a stunning view of the Vermilion Cliffs. After carefully navigating the road in, my RT settled in on a hill behind the ranch. One view was of the cliffs and house; the other view was up a canyon. Sweet. This is a place of amazing vistas. The stars at night were incredible. There was no ambient light. What a great place to view the heavens.
Friday evening we started the workshop with 8 people in attendance. I had come the furthest. The rest were from the Flagstaff area. That drive was about 4 hours. Of course mine took longer because I was too busy stopping to take photos and breath in the immensity of this country. First painting done….it was rough but it got me into my palate.
Saturday the winds began to blow. A cold front was coming through. As the day developed the winds increased in their intensity with gusts to 40 mph. This was suppose to be a plein air workshop but the winds were so strong, well, painting outside could not happen. While others painted from the window, I hauled all my gear back to my RT. My RT is now my mobile art studio. It took a while for me to figure it out and get things set up. I opened the side door and looked up the canyon and painted and it was fun. The kitchen counter became my table to paint on. My bed held much of my gear. Once I raised all the blinds the lighting was perfect.
Painting is not without it’s spiritual element. I was glad to welcome myself back into this world. I did two paintings, one to completion and one that is partially done that day in my RT. I loved it. Although rusty I can still paint and love doing it. I am planning to spend some time in my cute little RV, now that I am home, and figure out how to be a little more organized for painting adventures.
Sunday morning I completed one more painting this time from the front porch of Cane Ranch. The people, the place, the instructor made this a weekend I will not soon forget.
The weekend was not over yet. One of the woman I met at the workshop and I continued another eleven miles in on the same dirt road until we got to an view of mile thirty of the Grand Ganyon the Colorado River. The ride was amazing the company was great and we even had the opportunity to see a California Condor in full flight. Seriously, if you have never been to the Canyon, get there. It is an amazing place. I have hiked it several times, done a fifteen day raft trip through it and wandered the rim both north and south. It is an amazing place.
After a few more days on the road I am now back in southern California. I enjoy where I live, yet I dream of those vast open spaces where there is no one around for miles and the beauty of nature is amazing. I dream of going back again and again. Those spaces certainly helped me gain my inspiration to paint again. Today I think I will clean up my studio.
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