Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saguaro East National Park

Saguaro East is close to Faith's house so we have painted and hiked here when we were not off on adventures.  
Mallow in front of a paddle cactus
Fairy Dusters are some of the earliest spring bloomers.
The Staghorn Cholla's will bloom after we leave.
Lichen are colorful year round.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alamo Canyon, Organ Pipe National Mounument

Alamo Canyon is graced with some flowing water which provides for a rich varied vegetation in contrast to it's rugged rocks.

We found grinding holes in the bedrock near the water. I cannot imagine how many hours native americans spent grinding to make this hole about a foot deep.  The bedrock is extremely hard.
The rocks up this canyon were folded heated and fractured.
A magical spot about a mile above the grinding holes. An Ajo Oak was growing on the right.  The Ajo Oak can only be found in this region of the United States.

Desert Rose Mallow
Crimson Monkey Flower

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Paintings/Organ Pipe National Mounument

Three oil paintings from Organ Pipe National Monument.

Paintings/Madera Canyon

Before I forget here are the three oils I painted in Madera Canyon.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Organ Pipe National Monument

I had to post one Arizona sunset.  This is looking southwest, the mountains are in Mexico.
Annie draws with saguaros watching.
Immature organ pipe cactus.
Saguaro's are capable of sprouting and replacing broken off tops.  
Brittlebrush is an early yellow bloomer.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon enjoyed monsoon rains last fall and grew this now dry grass, spring looks like fall?
Painting in one of the many side canyons, a short walk from our camp.
One of the new birds in the canyon, reintroduced turkeys are doing well near the Santa Rita Lodge.
One of the many full size bonsai to be found in the canyon. This is an Alligator Juniper and I'm sure Oldog will be able to see the alligator head in this image.
This is Hill's Lupine, (or one of the 23 kinds of lupine in AZ) yes this far south it is spring even at 5000' elevation.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon, a family favorite area is located about 30 miles south of Tucson.  Mt. Wrightson and its fellow Santa Rita mountains top out around 9000 feet and feed water to the north down Madera Creek.  The area is lush and vegetated by 9 different types of oaks and pines that are found mostly in Mexico.  The area is famous for birding.   
The creek usually runs quiet and reflective but each year during the monsoon storms the creek has the potential for flooding and rapid erosion.  These tough trees hang on and some how manage to defy erosion and gravity.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


These three paintings are oils, 12" x 16" and painted at Gila Box Riparian Area.

These two are full sheet watercolors painted at Julian's Ranch.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gila Box National Riparian Area

Gila River

Sunset from our camp.

Morning coffee.

Gila Box National Riparian Area

Gila Box National Riparian Area is 20 miles north east of Safford AZ.  An area of strong contrasts, dry rocky desert is contrasted by running water.  The Gila River runs in the bottom of a rugged canyon.  We found a BLM campground and enjoyed 4 days of camping.  The area has been protected to provide for the many migrating birds that travel through and nest in the canyon bottoms.  The river and streams that flow in the bottoms of the canyon support a narrow band of trees, mostly cottonwoods and mesquites. The cottonwoods were just beginning to leaf out.

Bonita Creek runs quietly through dense undergrowth below the cottonwoods.
The Gila River floods periodically and rips out the trees keeping them from growing very large but in the tributary Bonita Creek we found this massive old cottonwood.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Julian's Ranch

Annie and I were lucky enough to be invited to a working cattle ranch owned by Faith's boyfriend Julian's family.  Located north of Mount Graham at about 4000' elevation it was cold. The wash that runs through the area is dry but water is not to far below the surface and supports huge Arizona sycamores and Cottonwoods. Rose, Julian's mom directed me to the ruins of an ancient Native American village.  Stones show the foundations of the village. A magical place in the desert.

Arizona sycamores are more smooth barked than the sycamores we have in Missouri.

This is a Parry's Agave, one of the twelve species of agave that live in AZ.  They were used by Native Americans for food, fiber, soap, beverages, and medicines.  Tequila is made from fermented juice from one of the agave species.