Monday, April 28, 2014

"Shallow Water Shadows" © #canyondechelly #oilpainting #laurawambsgans

The first time our Navajo guide drove up the shallow wash water we were surprised that the water was used as the road.  We traveled across the shallow water as much as on sand.  The reflections of the canyon walls and the lit trees against the backdrop of the shaded cliff was just stunning.  I thought I would give it a go at painting the scene.

Oil on Linen,  18" x 24"

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Junction Overlook, Canyon de Chelly" © #canyondechelly #painting #laurawambsgans

Canyon de Chelly is often called the "sacred canyon."  After painting on the edge of the canyon for a week I agree with this name.  Hawks soar, small squirrels scurry and in general life moves on without considering all that people at home seem to be distracted with.  Cell phones do not work, the television news seems distant and home feels like a globe away, not just a days drive.  Truly, I can't wait to return to this sacred canyon.  

Oil on linen, 18" X 24"  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Canyon Morning" © #canyondechelly #desertpainting #Navajoreservation

Oil on Linen

Last week I had the luck to go to Canyon de Chelly to paint with 5 other Southern California painters, Marian Fortunati, Debra Holladay, Sharon Weaver, Linda Brown and Nita Harper.   Canyon de Chelly is a National Monument located in the north east corner of Arizona and part of a Navajo reservation.  We experienced wild weather from a desert dust storm, to 33 degree mornings to perfect sunny days on the reservation.  

Here is a photograph of Nita and Linda painting along the South Rim of the canyon.  The views were endless and painting the canyon is easy.  You can find spots to paint out of your trunk or you can hike a bit, depending on your comfort level.  

Nita Harper, Marian Fortunati and Sharon Weaver in the 3rd seat.  

To explore the canyon floor hiring a Navajo guide is necessary.  We used Canyon de Chelly Tours, Leon Thomas Skyhorse is the owner and Irene was our guide.  She couldn't have done a better job, making sure we made it to all the best spots for painting.  We were riding in a Suburban with the 3rd seat and rotated seats clockwise with each stop so everyone had an opportunity to see well.  Irene told us that clockwise is the Navajo way and she was surprised we came up with the system as none of the other groups had ever suggested it.  Although we spent the night outside the canyon in the Best Western and Holiday Inn, we felt like Irene was able to give us the canyon experience that people talk about after camping overnight in the canyon.  

If you ever have the opportunity to see or paint Canyon de Chelly, go for it!  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Pink Mountain Moment" © #BorregoSprings #desertpainting #pleinair

For a brief time each morning the mountain in the west that hovers over Borrego Springs turns every color of orange and pink.  It is a free light show the sun offers the desert residents, until the evening show at sunset.  

I have been on the road painting Canyon de Chelly, Arizona and will start posting that adventure when I get all the paintings and cameras unpacked and unloaded.  It's funny when I am out painting far from home it's easy to forget what I have painted until I start opening the wet panel boxes.  I enjoy the surprises and reliving the painting experience.  

Oil on panel, 8" X 10"
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