Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Painting the town.

The past few days, I joined Michael Chesley Johnson and a couple of his students in painting some of the beautiful landscape in the area. This week, Rob and Peter, both from Canada are participating in Michael's mentoring workshop. I will join them on a day to day basis. Rob and Peter are both oil painters. Rob is from Winnipeg and Peter is from Newfoundland. They were glad to get out of the "great white north" and into the comfortable Arizona weather. It is beautiful here now.

On Monday, we set up in a field at the base of Bear Mountain. We had a number of different vistas to choose from. Look in any direction and there was something to paint. We all were relatively close to each other so that Michael could visit us from time to time to offer his critique and/or suggestions. That was very helpful. Here are Rob and Peter set up at the base of the mountain.

On Tuesday, we decided to spend some time at Red Rock Crossing, where the icon red rock formation known as Cathedral Rock can be viewed. I'm sure some of you have seen pictures of this formation before. Normally, the creek that runs by it is fairly calm, but melting snow in Oak Creek Canyon has caused the creek to rise quite a bit. Here's Rob with one of his large canvases at the edge of the creek. You can see the rapids in the water. The rocks were backlit in the morning so one had to block in the shadows quickly so as not to chase the sun. In the afternoon, especially late afternoon, these rocks are flooded with light.

Michael paints with us. We can either watch him while he gets in his under painting (he allows about 30 minutes for that phase) or we can paint ourselves. As Michael gets to each phase of his painting, he will take a break to visit each of us to check on our progress. This is very helpful in getting us to the next phase too. We have enough time to just about finish a painting or, at least, get it to the point where we should let it sit for a bit. At Cathedral Rock, Peter was working on such a big canvas that the rest of us had time to start on a second painting. Here are a couple of rough photos of my work so far.

Tomorrow we will go to the town of Jerome, an old mining town hung off the side of the Mingus Mountains about 2o miles away. There should be great opportunities there. I'm really looking forward to it.


  1. Fabulous, Tony! I loved reading all of this post. More to come, please!!!

  2. Looks like you're having a good time and meeting new people. Really like your rendition of Cathedral Rock

  3. Tony,
    Wonderful to hear about your adventures and see your paintings.
    Maggie and Woodie