America’s National Parks #2

“Zions As Sanctuary” first draft, Acrylic on Canvas, 30″ x 30″

Just sitting back watching TV and devouring countless news articles about how challenging this chapter of our history is at the moment is not an option. Instead, I create art to help raise awareness about my concerns for our planet’s survival.   Over the past several years I have painted and written about nuclear issues; global warming effects; war destruction and displacement; plastic in the environment; and the health hazards of air pollution.   

I am now taking a respite from these topics to make artwork inspired by my visits to some of our beautiful national parks.   I am quietly taking some valuable time to look deeply and study carefully those lessons nature can teach me.   I also know that a side effect of this direction is the slow and steady beating of the drums to amplify the dangers that our national parks are facing. 

The Trump administration is systematically remaking U.S. policies toward public lands, moving aggressively to open protected areas for development – from the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, to the red rock country of Utah, to the nation’s largest national forest in Alaska. (Jim Robbins, October 9, 2019, Yale Environment 360;

The photo you see in this blog illustrates the progression of starting and finishing a 30” x 30” acrylic painting on canvas titled  “Zion’s Cathedral”.  I began the painting with gentle drips of quinacridone burnt orange color on the blank canvas.  As time went on the color became stronger and deeper.  Then I added carbon black paint which was initially meant to indicate shadows in the rocks. However, the black outlines began to assume the appearance of the lead found in stained glass windows.  I added green to represent trees perched precariously high on the rocks.  Eventually, the feeling of a cathedral began to take form and I realized that this essence of a sacred space was emerging.  

Inspiration for this piece came from a photograph taken when I visited beautiful Zion National Park in Utah.  The vistas surrounding me in the canyons were stunning.  How could they not be when you are looking at layered sedimentary rocks are anywhere from 110-270 million years old? 


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