I joined our motley collection of artists this year for our informal annual painting trip, this time to paint in Utah. Hailing from the East coast, West coast and Mexico, we all stayed together at a lodge and traveled to many of the parks nearby, including Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Monument Valley, and even an Anasazi ruin. (Previous trips have included Maine, Cape Cod, and Mexico.) It was a great week of camaraderie, painting, and catching up while talking shop; also, lots of practical jokes and fun.
Many of the locations are spread out around eastern Utah and required a 1.5 - 2 hour drive, but we got early starts to the day and saw a lot of that part of the state. Or, if we got late starts, at least we painted until dark!
By the end of the trip the lodge was packed with paintings, probably 15-20 per person, along with tons of photos and sketches. Many of the guys from the East coast had never been to places like this, and I'm always intrigued to see what people paint in new places. Lots of great compositions and new ideas came out of the trip, and everyone went home inspired.
We had fantastic weather all week until the last two days: first we had a full day of wind, including some 40+ mph gusts up on the bluffs of Canyonlands (some people nearly lost their easels off of the 1,400' cliff), and then snow on the last day. To start the early morning 11-hr drive back home, I had to dig my truck out of a few inches of ice and snow, and, south of Monument Valley drove through a blowing snowstorm; but by the time we reached the Mojave Desert back in California it was nice and warm.