I painted this from a photo I took along the Salt River north of Mesa, Arizona, in the Tonto National Forest. This location was in the Phon D. Sutton rec area. I've been to this area many times in the early morning and late afternoon to paint and take photos. This past week I went there in the morning, and as I was hiking down to the river, a mountain lion crossed the path in front of me. He was close (less than 25 feet), and I'm very lucky he wasn't interested in me. This is one of the most beautiful spots on the river, but I won't go there again by myself. It was frightening. Mountain lions have been spotted in that area for the past few years, but this was the first time I've seen one. I hope it's the last. This painting is available for purchase through an online auction.
This painting is being donated to the Mesa Arts Center annual 10x10 exhibit and sale, which will occur on October 10, 2013 at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona. This is the third year I've entered this show. Since it's an event in Mesa, I chose a scene from a photo I took one late afternoon at Rancho de Tia Rosa, a wonderful Mexican restaurant in Mesa. Tia Rosa not only has outstanding food, but the architecture is beautiful. This painting is not for sale here, but it will be for sale at the show. The price for all paintings at the show is $100.
Last Spring I visited the Monterey area, and since I'm visiting all of the California missions I went to two missions that were close by: Mission San Juan Bautista and Mission Carmel. When I visited Carmel to do some plein air painting, I found that the mission was being renovated, so there were huge scaffolds on one of the basilica's domes. Another complication was that some signature members of the California Art Club were there that day to paint as well. I thought it might be pretty difficult to paint the scaffolding, and I sure didn't want to embarrass myself among this illustrious group of painters, so I settled on painting the exterior wall that had some nice foliage and shadows. It was a wonderful day, and so nice to meet so many very accomplished painters.
During the past year I've taken a few classes from Dick Heichberger, a master landscape painter. He really focuses on the use of transparent color, and that "less is more". I painted this in one of his classes from a photo I had taken in Sedona.