Thursday, April 3, 2008

Arizona Spring

This week and I am just finishing up 3 New Mexico themed paintings that will likely be going on display at the Taos Fine Art Gallery in Taos, NM. One painting is a landscape of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico - with the former home of the artist Georgia O'Keeffe in the image. Another is a vertical landscape that came from near Canyon Road in Santa Fe - and the last is a study of ladders and shadows against the wall at the Acoma Pueblo. Perhaps it comes through in my work that I have felt as artistically at home in New Mexico just as I have in Arizona. New Mexico is a beautiful state, with very friendly people and a landscape and history that should make anyone with a keen eye interested.

However I am happy to report that Spring is underway in Southern Arizona - birds are singing every morning with a little more gusto than usual. The days have turned warm and the buds are popping on the Paloverde trees. Soon the Paloverdes around town will bathe the desert in the most profound yellow hues you can imagine. Made all the more interesting by the fact that the branches and trunks of the Paloverdes are green! Still other yellows have preceded the arrival of the Paloverdes - two great blooms that have already been amazing this year are the Mexican Gold Poppies and the Brittlebrush. Both bloom yellow as well - or rather, the poppies more true to their name bloom in a yellow-gold tone. The Brittlebrush bloom up and down the hillsides of our mountains, mostly on the sunny side of things - and when you are able to contemplate a landscape where Giant Saguaros stand tall over what looks like a sea of yellow - then words immediately begin to fail the viewer. All you can think is 'yellow, yellow, yellow' so powerful and beautiful. It would not be a stretch to conceive that if Van Gogh had set to work on Brittlebrush and Poppies with the gusto that he tackled his sunflowers - then he would have felt at home in this all pervading blooming of yellow sun like apparitions.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I took a hike up the Sutherland Trail at Catalina State park, and though we'd gone around most parts of that park - we had to curse ourselves for the fact that we had not yet visited this trail. But it so happened that when we did the poppies were blooming in grassy meadows, and there were all sorts of wildflowers springing up - pushed along gently by a rainstorm that had proceeded them about a week before - and around and among the yellows and golds were blue flowers, white blooms, all sorts of mixes of hues sprinkled along hillsides and beneath the towering gaze of the Saguaros. It seemed like in the desert tangle of spines and spikes and grass, every color had come to fruition at once.

I shot photos from all along the Sutherland trail, many of which I dare say will go into summertime paintings that will be posted on my website in the next couple of months. I'm just about to start a few of them.

A good friend in New York city told me that they are still experiencing a chilly climate - and that she had longed for the dry, warm air of the West. And in that same sense it made me thankful that I know this place speaks to me in a very basic sense - and that I would not be happy in a place too cold for too long. Soon I know the brutal heat of summer will be on us and we'll all be wishing we were in places like...New York, perhaps! But I love the plants and the sun - and vibrant, fiery landscapes beneath it.

Judging from the chirping and chattering of the birds outside - I'd say they agree with me.