This past September, my mother, dog and I decided to take a road trip to Utah to visit the National Parks. After 3 days of driving, we arrived in Moab on Monday night. Our first stop, Arches National Park. Natural sandstone arches and colorful red & yellow ochre rocks, silver-green plants, multi-color landscapes and dramatic skies surrounded us. Being artists both of us were in awe of the formations and soaring pinnacles that mother nature offers. The Delicate Arch & Balanced Rock are not to be missed.
Next stop, Canyonlands National Park quite different from Arches. Island in the Sky is a visual treat. The Mesa which sits 1,000 feet above the terrain and looks like a puzzle with missing pieces is eye-catching. It has very deep crevices running down and into the surrounding landscape. The Green & Colorado Rivers runs through it. The colorful Spires of the Needles with ribbons of color running through (brown, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and cream) captures your attention. There are other areas within Canyonlands that will take time to see.
My favorite, Capitol Reef – this location has all the colors that any landscape artists would love to use in their paintings. When I first started to plan the trip, I happened to come across Capitol Reef. After viewing pictures of this magnificent natural wonder right then and there I decided that I had to see it. I am mainly a landscape artist. As we drove through the park we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the colors. My suggestion, pull over and reach for your easel and paint. The colors range from yellow-green, light green, dark green, yellow ochre, salmon, red, burnt sienna, purple and gray. All of these colors are found within the landscape and the rock formations. Don’t forget the sky. Brilliant blue to stormy gray. Filled with canyons, cliffs, bridges & domes every area is different and the colors and shadows are intense. We have nothing like this back east.
Our last stop was Zion National Park – If you are a hiker, this is the place for you. All the beauty is within and not visible unless you are willing to hike from 1 mile +. Depending on what you want to see and how daring you are. I did the Riverwalk where you can see the opening of the Narrows. This is about a 1-mile walk one way. If you decide to go further into the canyon you will be going upstream in the Virgin River which could be tricky and you need to be prepared. Flash floods happen quickly and rocks are slippery. But, the scenery is spectacular. The giant canyon walls are incredible. The sound of the running water is relaxing. Don’t forget you are about 5,000 ft elevated and other trails could take you up about another 1,000 ft.. Zion is not accessible by car like the other 3 national parks. They do have shuttle buses and you can get on and off. While we were there 2 stops were closed due to rockfall and storm damage which happened the week before our visit. Our shuttle bus driver had said that the rockfall was the size of 2 bus lengths when it fell and some hikers did get hurt when they were running away. If you decide to go be prepared and don’t forget to bring your easel! I was fortunate enough to paint The Watchman with spire soaring above 2,200 ft standing tall and overlooking the lower Zion Canyon.
Both my mother and my dog a very well-traveled Yorkie (Primavera – the name translates to Springtime) enjoyed the sights and smells of the new places we visited. Both cannot wait for the next road trip!
Lastly, I had met Nathan Skousen and his wife Jocelyn who had organized an OPA paint out September 14th in Virgin, UT. I along with other artists, not sure who were OPA Members participated in the paint out. Some artists painted with Acrylics, Oils, Pastels, and Watercolor each with very different but beautiful results. If was hot, fun and great to meet new people. Well done Nathan! Thanks for all your efforts.
Tip: If you drive to a painting location sometimes it is easier to work out of the back of your SUV/Truck like I did when I painted The Watchman. Happy Painting!