With much excitement and anticipation, I attended my first year at the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art! I was able to camp near the South Rim for nine days and get out to paint every day. This was a dream! As an artist, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to paint…. so this was a great opportunity to enjoy this carefree artist life. My family joined me for the two weekends, and we did some exploring around the park: biking and sightseeing. My first painting was a sunrise piece near the Yavapai Geological Museum, painted entirely with a palette knife.
The rest of the first day was spent touring and scoping out the many viewpoints. There were so many options. I kept thinking I would get to Pima Point first. When the opportunity came to get out to Pima Point, I got caught in a rainstorm and had to abandon my plan. I backtracked to a pullout where the Canyon is visible from the car and set up in the rain under my hatchback trunk. Eventually, the rain got too heavy and I crawled in the back to complete a 9×12 rainy painting. It was exhilarating to watch the storm and hear the thunder echo across the Canyon.
After the rain stopped, I drove back to Pima Point and did a couple more paintings in soft overcast light. The sun would peak out occasionally and illuminate features in the Grand Canyon.
The next morning, Monday, I awoke bright and early for a couple sunrise paintings from Yaki Point. The light changed quickly and I painted frantically. The second painting that morning I slowed down a bit and was surprised to watch a raven perch on the rock I was painting.
The connection I often feel to the Grand Canyon is by hiking. So, I drove east to the Grandview Trailhead, thinking I would find some quiet space to paint. The parking was packed and busy, but within a few minutes of hiking the crowds were gone. I found a shady spot under a big pinon pine tree for a view of the river making a couple big “S” curves far below. It looked like the Tanner Rapids area I have camped at many times during backpacking trips. A bird was feeding on pinon nuts in the tree above, dropping things near me, luckily my painting survived the birds attacks.
The rest of the week went quickly. I woke up for sunrises each day and found viewpoints to watch the sunsets. I gathered more photos and ideas for future paintings as well. Some other spots I enjoyed painting were from the Bright Angel Trail for a moody sunrise painting and Shoshone Point for some dramatic afternoon shadows.
To allow time for the staff to hang the show, I delivered most of my paintings framed on Wednesday. The rest of the week was more relaxed and I enjoyed slowing down, painting some more, and watching the clouds create dancing shadows in the Grand Canyon.
The Kolb Studio is a wonderful space to showcase art not only for it’s historical interest. Here are a few more photos from the painting week at The Grand Canyon Celebration of Art and the main gallery display at the Kolb Studio.
My first year participating in this event was a wonderful experience, I hope to continue to be part of it for years to come. The paintings remain on display at the Kolb Studio until January 15th, 2024. As paintings sell, back up pieces replace empty spots on the wall. If you can’t make it to Kolb Studio at the Grand Canyon, paintings can also be viewed and purchased online at Celebration of Art at Grand Canyon – Page 8 – Grand Canyon Conservancy Store. Browse through all the pages online to see the amazing art produced from over 20 artists. My paintings start at the bottom of pate 7 and continue to page 8. Part of the sales of the pieces benefit the Grand Canyon Conservancy. Thank you!