Friday, March 28, 2014

Painting in the Grand Canyon - Day Two

We are finally rigged and floating down the canyon.  The most frustrating part of a raft trip is that you cannot paint fast enough to capture the scenery as you row down the river so you must wait for a hiking break, a lunch stop, or an early day stop at camp, but meanwhile, I hurriedly take my camera from its watertight case to snap a few reference photos for future paintings.

   The first major sighting of wild life occurred just four miles down the river at Navajo Bridge where several pair of endangered condors are making the canyon their home with a convenient high "perch" provided by the bridge....

Looking down, I found another flying creature hitch hiking on a dry bag.  This would not be the last of the unasked guests on the trip.

Peter and Vickie...still smiling after 15 miles of rowing.

Setting up the kitchen at Soap Creek Camp

And the quick sketch I made of this view while dinner was being prepared by the Idaho guys....

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Painting in the Grand Canyon

Friend Betsy arriving at the put-in at Lee's Ferry
My husband and I just returned from a month long raft trip on the Colorado through the Grand Canyon.  This involves carrying everything that you need on your raft or the rafts of friends..we carried the kitchen box with pots, pans, colander,dishes, spices, condiments, forks, spoons, knives, can opener...well you get the picture.  Some folks carried the stoves and propane and a fire pan for our nightly campfires which are very welcome on a winter trip. One boat carried the toilet seat and toilet paper and each raft had a, thankfully airtight,  "rocket box" (not too affectionately called "groovers"  by early boaters who did not carry a seat... due to the groves left in your bottom) to catch the poop (you have to bring all waste out with you).  Several of us had tables for the kitchen, and we all brought folding camp chairs.  One very popular guy, Butch, brought along a propane hot water shower! The food was carried by storing it in coolers and dry boxes which every raft had.  Our raft carried a hundred lbs. of pinion wood which smells heavenly, and we burned the paper trash and leftover food each night to reduce the amount of trash that needed to be carried out of the canyon.  Almost every day all this gear is unloaded from the rafts at different camp sites along the river's edge and reloaded in the mornings, which took about an hour each time. Not a trip for lazy folks!
"Doc" pulling gear from the trailer
"What do you mean, its not heavy?" exclaims Tony
"Sure I can get more in...just watch!" says Joanne.

Norm rowing his boat to the put-in campsite for the night as the sun starts to go down.

Vicki and Peter provide the breakfast for the next morning at the put-in and boat rigging goes on as we all try to get everything strapped down for the upcoming rapids

But the most important gear for me was my watercolor supplies which I keep in an airtight "captain's box" at hand for lunch stops, hiking stops, etc.  I have always used these trips as an opportunity for some plein aire painting.  While on this particular trip (my sixth one,  25 trips or so for my husband) I bought a watercolor journal and tried to sketch or paint on most of the days.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will share those pages with you.

Plein Air Artists

Our Sandia mountainside attracts hikers, climbers, bicyclists, and artists.  Now that the weather is spring like, we are seeing more artists out along side of the road painting away!

This group is from the Albuquerque Art League working under the direction of a master artist.  I did ask his name, but forgot to write it down.

Taking the long view

Even if you don't paint, you might long to know how with views like these....