Scottsdale and Surrounding Areas

Sonoran Desert

Our life lessons continue, but hopefully the stars will align and we will be back on the road again tomorrow afternoon.  It is a long boring story about the truck, so we will skip that, but we can say that the people of Scottsdale have been extremely helpful and friendly.

Since we had more time in Scottsdale than we had planned, there have been a few benefits.  First of all, we have been enjoying all the hiking that is around Scottsdale and have covered way more trails and miles than expected(60 miles in a week).  We have also been able to play a few rounds of golf and more importantly for me, have been able to paint. 

On a few of our quieter evenings I sat down and painted from a photo that I took at Dead Horse State Park.  The composition of the painting ended up being weak, but there were several individual elements of the painting that I liked.  I love working in watercolors because I can crop and cut a painting.  The end product was able to capture the snow on the rocks as well as the light in the valley and some of the colors of the background.

Sunlit Rocks

There were a few stops that we had originally planned before the truck breakdown, so we decided to make them day trips from Scottsdale.  Our first day trip was to the Sonoran Desert National Monument.  One would think that with a name like, that there would be some substantial infrastructure, but that is not what we found.  We drove to the location based on a GPS system and found nothing but an empty trailhead sign. 

Ross trying hard to read the trail map 😉

We are still not sure that we were at the correct main entrance but hiked in along a trail.  It was extremely quiet, not a soul in sight and beautiful in its starkness.  When we got to a good spot we settled in and I spent the next two hours painting while Buddy and Ross enjoyed some quiet time.  It was great to test out my new travel stool and painting palette and to find that they are a good addition to my plein air painting tools.  I was happy with this painting since I feel that it captures the simplicity of the landscape, the quiet and the colors of the desert and the mountain backdrop.

Sonoran Desert

The next day trip was the Lost Dutchman State Park. This state park has the striking Superstition Mountains as a backdrop.  We enjoyed a beautiful hike through the Cholla Cactus and several other varieties.  After a long hike we sat down at the day shelter and I pulled out my paints.  I wanted to experiment with a little bit different technique for the mountains. The goal was to paint the mountains with a looser style and more color.  I have noticed while hiking through the “red rocks” of Utah and Arizona that there are some beautiful colors in these rock formations.  I completed this painting in an hour and was pretty happy with the outcome.

Tomorrow we hope to be heading North East to New Mexico for some new scenery. 

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