Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sedona in Plein Air

I've always loved Santa Fe and the red rocks of Bryce and Zion in Southern Utah. But I'd never been to Sedona, Arizona which seems the obvious hybrid of the art and southwest vibe of New Mexico and the natural, unearthly beauty of Utah.

That is how I found myself enrolled in a 5 day Plein Air painting in Sedona workshop through the Sedona Arts Center.

I'm glad my first visit to Sedona was to paint. Meeting in secluded rock canyons or in the early morning at the river, I know I SAW Sedona. The real Sedona. The town of Sedona, the hodge-podge of tacky T-Shirt shops and fake Native American homages or woo-woo-psychic crystal nonsense... that's was a complete let down. What a disservice to the beauty of the land. What an insult to the power and energy you can't help but be humbled by when you stand beneath that incredible blue sky.

Sadly, even the galleries were bad. Super disappointing - I might as well have been walking on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Tacky, irrelevant, print after Giclée after poorly painted half dressed Indian maiden. UGH.

Thankfully, I was with talented painters for the week, exploring the natural beauty and being challenged to do justice to what we encountered. It was a gift to myself to paint consecutively for 5 days, from 9-4. It was exercise!

I'm pleased with my work and inspired to tackle more. I painted what I saw and what I felt... I painted with rhythm and color, shapes and mood. I can't wait to frame my little Sedona paintings so I can remember the 'real' Sedona, not the commercial 'Disneyland on Patchouli' version.