My month of art and hiking in Zion was quite the spectacular affair. I have been talking the program up to all my artist friends and I can’t say enough good things about the experience. They have already chosen their residents for the next season, but watch for the deadlines this coming summer.
I always feel like time seems to expand during a residency. I don’t exactly know how – with this one I still had errands to run, computer work to do, and a certain amount of real life activities to maintain – but somehow I was able to hike like mad and still got a lot of work done.
In addition to day hiking I went backpacking up in the less visited Kolob Canyons section of the park. I was amazed by how quickly the temperature changed that time of year. I went from roasting to freezing in what felt like an instant, and then back again the next morning. The desert is beautiful but not particularly friendly. I can’t imagine what the heat is like in July.
There was even a modest snowfall in the high country to remind me of home.
As usual, the smaller elements caught my attention. It seemed a bit contrary to be drawing sticks and grasses while surrounded by dramatic canyon walls, but I guess that’s what I do.
Letter from the Flood III, yellow cedarI think perhaps the summer of rain and high water in Fairbanks tuned my attention to the river and the remnants of things left on the banks by Zion’s rainy season.
This piece, called ‘Remnants, Virgin River’, was chosen by the park for their collection. It’s small, but it’s my favorite, and I’m happy it will go there to live.
All three of the NPS residencies I’ve done have been as different as the parks themselves. Zion was new to me in terms of landscape, location, and level of visitation. I came away from this experience with a better appreciation for the complicated mandate that governs the National Park Service. Access and preservation often work against each other, yet both are vital to the park system. Sometimes Zion felt crowded. At the same time, I appreciated seeing so many people and families unplugged and enjoying exploring the natural world.
I spent the last two weeks in Fairbanks finishing and fussing with the pieces I started in Zion, getting them ready for a show in Anchorage that opens on the 5th. Even though I’m done with this set of images, I think that I will be spending some more time with some of them. What I did in the park was by necessity ‘travel size’ work, but I see some of the ideas expanding into larger pieces over the next few months. I’m also interested in translating some of them into prints.
While it’s wonderful to see new places, it’s also great to be home. With my travel prior to the residency I was gone for nearly two months. I’m settling back into the studio, looking ahead towards large pieces for the Pathways school in Palmer and following up on other projects. Hooray for winter.