Well, no, I haven't been wandering in the desert since September, but when I was there, I really did lose myself in the experience. It was a step out of my busy life into timelessness; never before have I had the luxury of time for my art that I experienced there. As a painter in Southeast Alaska, I am often working out in the cold or in the rain, conditions that tend to hurry a painter who works in the field. In Arizona, warm and dry, and entirely on my own, I had the time and freedom to explore the rough beauty of the desert without any sense of urgency. I was able to sink slowly into a whole new kind of interaction with the landscape.
One evening after painting several hours on top of Blue Mesa, I watched a storm rise in the distance and sweep across the landscape right towards me. I was alone up there, all the other visitors to the park long gone. The wind raced in, gusting hard. The sun broke through the storm clouds now and then, back-lighting huge drops of rain coming down in sheets all around the mesa, but never where I was standing. At first glance, the desert might seem like a big empty space, but at that moment, it was charged with energy, full of glory, and inspiring in every way.
I've posted a few of my paintings from my experience as Artist-in-Residence at Petrified Forest National Park and a few of the photos of my trip to and from Arizona in the photo albums.