Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Escalante is a town of 800 + quirky inhabitants, surrounded by nature -- the ever-so-scenic Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The Escalante River and various tributaries meander nearby, so there is endless landscape to explore, including numerous canyons to paint. The Dixie National Forest offers ponderosa pine forests, aspen groves, and reservoirs.

Since I'm actually more of a studio artist, careful planning is required to do mixed media collage pieces out there in the desert. Luckily I could borrow a folding chair and table to use.

This is where I set up to paint rabbit brush for the paint out, as the requirement was to paint on public land. This is the trailhead for the Lower Box Death (Wilderness) Trail -- along Pine Creek. A favorite trail. See the painting, below.

Ghost Car on the Desert Floor - 8 x 10. The story collaged
underneath the painting was also told to me by an Escalante
"native" -- and I will post the entire fun story in the future. I traded
this painting for a pastel by Bonnie Zahn Griffith.

This most fabulous plein air art festival happens every year during the last week of September. 2016 was my 4th year, and I am hooked. Every year between 80 - 100 artists come from all over the U.S. (and occasionally beyond) to participate. A few have returned every year since it began. Each year I make a few new friends. Since I was fortunate enough to live there from 10/2014 to 10/2016, I also became friends with several inhabitants, a fascinating bunch of characters for sure.

I'm happy to report that while some artists painted 5 paintings every day, I painted 5 paintings total, but the good news is they all found good homes!!! Also, what you can't see in these photos is that each painting is wearing "bling" in the form of glittering bits of crinkled and painted aluminum foil. While this might sound tacky, it looks so fun. And, hey. We all need a gimmick.

Leaves of a Book at 9 x 12 - a contemporary painting in a traditional frame. SOLD to a writer who lives in nearby 
Boulder, UT. A story is told on the trees. A friend who grew up in Escalante told a story about how as a child he sold 
cockle burrs to tourists for 25 cents each, told 'em they were porcupine eggs and to put 'em under their armpits to hatch.

This is a ponderosa pine showing the
prevalent red rocks one sees along the
Hell's Backbone Road north of Escalante.
This and a companion piece of a pinyon pine
SOLD to a couple from S. California.

Rabbit Brush painting at 5 x 7,
inside a frame made of rabbit brush
stems I had collected and cut to fit.
This piece went to a California patron.