Painting on Location

We just returned from a magical trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, lucky to be included by a friend who travels regularly with a group of oil painters from Santa Cruz, CA. My friend Suzanne Elliott ( called me this past December and described the trip, and as the Grand Canyon has been on my “bucket list”, it didn’t take long say YES! I’m blessed with an amiable spouse who was happy to go along, see the sites and hang with a congenial art group from Santa Cruz Oil Painters (

Not a quick trip for us, a drive to the Sacramento airport, flight to Phoenix, picked up our rental car and detoured to Sedona for a late lunch at Pisa Lisa ( had a really great mushroom pizza, although we veered off our vegan diet to include some cheese on this trip! Sedona is beautiful, and I’d love to go back and stay a few days to paint at some later date. We drove on to the Yavapai Lodge inside the park, arriving a bit after 6pm — but the last hour of travel was in blowing snow!! Beautiful as it cleared that evening.


The next morning we met up with some of the other painters at Moran Point, about 26 miles from the Yavapai. Here was my first set up, and of course the view was stunning.


What is the lure of painting “en plein aire” as opposed to in the comfort of one’s studio? Spending time in nature, taking the time to soak in an area like the South Rim! We stayed at each painting location at least 2-1/2 to three hours — some did longer sessions. Tourists came and went, quickly running up to the vantage points, snapping photos (and endless selfies) and running back to their vehicles. Strange to be a painter out there on display as much as the scenery. All in all, I got a lot of nice complements on my work — although it’s distracting to get interrupted by strangers with questions. Some wanted to take my photo, which was strange to me, but maybe we were as much of a “sight” as the location for those who had never seen artists working?


Now I’m home, and working on finishing touches to these little 9 x 12″ paintings in the comfort (and quiet) of my studio. I’ll share a few in this space in a later blog. This trip also taught me about the process of traveling with my art supplies. For some tips on that check out Sue’s blog: It was so helpful that she and several others had driven in from California, and were generous in sharing their Gamsol! Otherwise, a stop at the art store in Phoenix would have been a must.


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