Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today I meet with the Artist in Residence Coordinator to talk about my public program at 11am, so I have some time in the morning to continue to work on the painting I started outside yesterday.  Rain is in the forecast, so an all day hike was probably not in the plan anyway, and we need to go into Holbrook soon for supplies, so today will be dedicated to practical matters.

I have a good, though short, meeting with the coordinator, Pat Thompson, who is also Chief of Resource Management and I expect has a pretty tight schedule. I had scoped out all the public points of interest in the park for my charcoal sketching class without finding one that would be practical. She suggests the courtyard at headquarters. While it would be convenient, the large courtyard, designed as part of the Mission 66 upgrade project for the national parks, is blocked from the landscape with buildings on all four sides and is about as stark a place as designed in the 60's. "But what will we draw?" I asked. She was probably thinking it would more like the cultural demonstrations the park offers.

I like to get people out into the landscape though, so I suggest the Rainbow Forest Museum at the southern end of the park. Even though I had been too wiped out to explore it when we took our park survey the first day, I figured I'd take a chance there'd be SOMETHING to draw there.

The class is scheduled for my last day, which meant I was free till then. Every residency is different and I realized that this was going to be a very independent one, which was fine by me, two weeks of unscheduled time to explore and work is luxury. 

After I get back we decided to take the southern route to Holbrook which would take us out the Rainbow Forest gate and give me a chance to check it out. But by the time we drove the 25 miles though the park the weather was getting chilly and the wind was picking up. We walked just enough of the Giant Logs trail, a hilly paved loop past big petrified logs, to figure it would be a good place for class. It was right next to the museum building, had places to perch or we could use chairs from the Museum, and if the weather made working outside difficult, students could actually sit in the museum and see the landscape out the big picture windows.

I talked to Dave in the museum about the class and he was enthused and helpful. With that taken care of, we headed back to the car just as the rain started.  The cold windy rain lasted through our grocery shopping, and a stop at the hardware store for a putty knife to substitute for the palette knife I had forgotten to bring. But by the time we arrived back at the park, the skies were clearing. We were very happy with our timing!

I walked across the street to Kachina Point to watch as slivers of sun traveled over the desert badlands, until it was the shadows which were the slivers in the brilliantly lit landscape.

After all that, we did manage to get a hike in. At Chinde Point lookout John walked out onto the spine of a one of the mounds below.

 From which he saw a strange monolith rising from the flat desert.

Of course we had to go see it, steep as the climb down was. A bonus were these strangely bonelike rocks, set out as if a huge dinosaur had expired on the spot.

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