Moab…this is such a beautiful place. From the moment I drove down into the Colorado River valley that holds this town I was in awe of the overwhelming beauty. Extreme describes it….cliffs in reds and yellows, intense skies something different to look at all around you . . I went to Moab to participate in the Plein Air Moab painting event Oct 7-15. The event includes 3 quick draw sessions, a main competition, a paint out, receptions and more. The Moab Art and Rec Center (MARC) is hosting their 2nd plein air. The team that organized this were incredible. Everything; every event ran like clock work. One day the quick draw was at the Castle Valley Winery where we painted on their property and submitted it to the show and sale. for 3 hours, we painted ,then framed. Two more quick draws on other days happened downtown Moab with same rules and events. The final event was the main competition – a painting of the artist’s choice that they had completed during the time in Moab. Other paintings could be displayed for sale at the MARC as well…but only one entered into the competition. Friday night we entered the MARC to one room filled with the artists’ best work. Many had signs on them “Award Winning Painting”. I looked for mine and it was included in that catagory! That’s the icing on the cake!
During the paint out, several pieces of art sold which wonderful – since that is the ultimate goal! But it is also equally important to develop new friendships and learn new things from fellow artists, judges, etc.
And there is taking some risks in our work, try new techniques and see as much of the area and photograph as much as you can for future reference. I had shied away from driving the LaSal Loop which is a road that takes you south of Moab, then westerly over some mountain passes, down into the Castle Valley and back to Moab via Hwy 128. The first while I was in Moab, the weather was cold and stormy with snow on the mountains, so that detered my thoughts of doing this drive in the mighty Prius. However with warm weather for several days, the snow had all but disappeared so I decided that I would drive at least part way up the pass to get some views of colorful fall leaves and different terrain. I soon found that it the road was really steep and narrow and I wasn’t comfortable trying to turn around on the narrow roads and minimal turn-outs…so I kept driving over the passes, a little timidly on the ascents and descents with switchbacks at a max of 10 mph. It was beautiful and when one was atop each of the passes, the view below was incredible. I admit that when I saw the familiar terrain of the Castle Valley, I breathed a sigh of relief! Once I got down into the valley, I decided I would paint one more work so elected to paint a scene near Onion Creek…a stream that barely runs water when the weather is dry…but is one that carries water that is poisonous leeched with selenium, arsnic and saline. The creek bed has no vegetation and it is strangely quiet with no birds in the immediate area.
Saturday came with the realization that the stay in Moab was coming to an end. Work was to be picked up at the MARC at 6 that evening. In the morning I stopped in to listen to the judged talk about the work selected for awards and decided that I would go somewhere and paint one more session. Sandi who organized the event came up to me and asked what I was doing for the day. I told her and she asked if she could go with. Happily I invited her and we drove up Kane Creek beyond where one leaves the Colorado and heads up another canyon. We painted and visited for about 2 hours. It was the perfect way to end a great 10 day visit to this spot.
Sunday morning I was ready to head out for points south into New Mexico. I stopped at the little cafe that sells great Moab coffee, grabbed a 16 oz cup, bid farefwell to the MARC and headed down 191 to southerly points….