Exotic destinations inspire the creative spirit. As a child I dreamed of travel to far away places, and I read everything I could find with picturesque settings. As an adult I crave the discovery of magic destinations to use as points of departure for my novels and for my paintings.
In the early 1990s we made our first trip to Sedona in the glorious Red Rock country of Arizona. It was amazing to drive through the awesome scenery I had viewed only in movies as a child. With my 35 mm Minolta dangling from my neck, I trudged over dusty trails looking for medicine wheels along the way. Those I found were viewed with reverence. I watched, entranced, as a few fellow wanderers chanted softly into the quiet calm of vortex sites.
The rock formations such as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Rock and other fascinating views rose high against a clear blue sky, and my husband and I took amazing photographs for me to use later in creating paintings. Just being in the midst of the vortexes and on the sacred land was a spiritual experience. Although we did not see the flying saucers others have claimed to see over Bell Rock, the sight of that magic formation did inspire a fantasy print I created of saucer images above a rocky landscape.
The jeep ride we took through the Red Rock country wilderness revealed Devil's Bridge near Chimney Rock and Coffee Pot Rock. Later, I used a photograph of our guide straddling the chasm in my coffee table book, Hotels to Remember. So much of that book was inspired by journeys such as our trip to Sedona.
I could not resist using much of what we discovered on our first trip and many later visits to Sedona in my novel, Eagle Rising. Like I did, my heroine wanders into the wilderness where she finds medicine wheels and a crystal that leads her through the adventures of this book. The gorgeous library in Sedona intrigued me, so my book begins there. The cover is part of one of the acrylic paintings that resulted from some of the photographs taken.
Prior to publication of Eagle Rising late last year, we took another trip to Sedona where I found a gorgeous bronze eagle so like the eagle in my book. With the convenience of my digital camera, we took dozens of new Sedona photographs, one of which is on the back cover of Eagle Rising.
Exotic destinations offer inspiration. Eagle Rising and Hotels to Remember resulted from our Sedona trips. So did countless pastel drawings, acrylic paintings on canvas, and the print, "Night Visitors."
To learn more, please visit my Web site, www.marymontaguesikes.com.