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30 days in the desert

August 22, 2010

Finally~! Installed in our apartment in Montreal, and unpacked enough to post a few sketches from the cross-country trip.

We came across Utah; spending a few days each in Zion, Bryce and Arches. I had high hopes of painting every day – but honestly, this terrain is challenging. Combining the high humidity (summer storms every day) with sweltering heat, and the intense detail of the landscape – I had a difficult time with it.

The view from the top of the canyon at Zion:

There’s a well maintained walk up Zion Canyon over a series of bridges, balconies and short stairs that abruptly opens up to this vista. This was our first big stop on the trip – a great introduction to Utah. I recommend traveling south to north – the state starts out impressive, and just keeps getting weirder and wilder as you go though the park system.

The Delicate Arch:

This is probably the most photographed feature at Arches national park. A short but steep hike up a blasted wasteland, followed by a cliff hugging 200 meters of sandstone ledges with a 100 foot drop next to your toes, gets you up to this unique formation. There’s a cute little sign at the start of the trail that essentially says “don’t care what you think – you don’t have enough water’.

At the end there I was climbing a steep sandstone ledge, in the rain, with gritty dust blowing in my teeth (how that happens in the rain I’m not sure), it’s crazy hot, the lightning is hitting too close for comfort, I’m not sure If I should turn back. Then suddenly you’re around a bend in the path, and this natural amphitheater is spread out before you, with this bizarre rock formation perched on the edge. I ended up doing an initial sketch with my block  jammed under a rock to keep the rain off,  just hoping I wasn’t going to be struck by lightning. Turned out we lived, and stuck it out long enough for an impressive sunset.

I wish I’d come away from Utah with more sketches. So much to see here. Yet another place I need to re-visit.

So here’s some of Laurels photography to give you an idea of what’s out there:

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2010 4:00 AM

    Did you post sketches? Because they aren’t showing for me. The photos showed though.

    • August 23, 2010 7:45 PM

      oh! thanks for pointing that out – (some error in my formatting – fixing now!)

  2. August 23, 2010 7:09 AM

    Beautiful paintings! Et bienvenue à Montréal!

  3. September 4, 2010 3:45 PM

    Wow ! Incredible landscape! Beautiful photos and your sketches are excellent-lots of energy in them. i understand you wanting to come away with more- there’s never enough time!

    • September 4, 2010 4:53 PM

      Thanks Matt –
      hopefully I could make it back there some day – but now that we’ve moved to Montreal – there’s so much to paint here – I’m not sure when I’ll get to it…

  4. Linda Daily permalink
    September 11, 2010 8:03 PM

    Marc,
    I have loved your paintings of SF and think these in
    the National Parks are wonderful! My husband and I
    did that trip a few years ago and the photos and sketches brought
    back that vacation. It feels like another world don’t you think?
    Best of luck in Montreal and we will look forward to more
    wonderful paintings from there!
    Linda

  5. Shelly permalink
    September 26, 2010 12:35 PM

    Fisrt, LOOOVE your work and deeply appreciative that you blog/post it. Thank you.
    Second, my husband and were in Arches (and Canyonlands) this spring so seeing your Delicate Arch was wonderful. Our hike up was early in a day that threatened rain (ended up with snow flurries late morning, but cleared beautifully in the afternoon.)

    Last, best wishes for Montreal. Never been, so I look forward to becoming virtually acquainted as I visit your site.

    Thanks again,
    Shelly in Lodi, CA

    • September 26, 2010 7:38 PM

      well, thanks for the kind words Shelly :)
      Glad to hear the sketches bring you back to the place. It was a really incredible trip, doing those canyon lands parks. Nothing like drawing a place to make it a lasting memory…

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