Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Grand Canyon Stirs the Imagination of Artists and Writers

"Canyon!" acrylic on stretched canvas ©Mary Montague Sikes

"Canyon", 4' by 7', was the largest painting I had on display at Petersburg Regional Art Center. It was the last piece of art we piled on top of our final van load as we cleared out two studios and several walls from the Center over the weekend. Right now, it's sitting on the floor in front of a brick fireplace not far from where we watch television. The grand vista opens up a new dimension in that room.

As I studied the painting I hadn't viewed for a long while, I thought about the thousands of artists and writers who've been immensely inspired by this glorious and unique place. So many paintings. Artists working en plein air. Writers imagining what might happen if one of those folks posing on the canyon's edge might slip, might be pushed to their deaths far below. I wonder at the daring of the tightrope walker crossing a piece of the canyon.

Starting when our two oldest daughters were very young, we've visited the Grand Canyon many times. I worried then as they played near the canyon's edge. I always love the view from the spacious dining room of the El Tovar where one can watch the changing colors of light playing across the canyon walls.

In this painting, I used my imagination with many of the colors I chose, but I love the effect that resulted. Hidden away in archival drawers, I suspect I have some long-forgotten pastel drawings of the canyon. Color slides taken along roads and trails lie concealed inside carousel trays awaiting a show with the projector. I hope they will keep a few more years.

Our last visit to the Grand Canyon came last November. Already, the artist and the writer in me is longing to return.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's a very beautiful painting. Hard not to be inspired by something a massive and unique as the Grand Canyon.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Mary, that is gorgeous.

I've been to Hoover Dam but I never saw that part of the Grand Canyon. Maybe someday.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex, the canyon is glorious. So happy it's a national park! Thanks!

Diane, you have to visit the canyon! Thank you!

Shaunda said...

I love colorful paintings like this!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Shaunda, Thank you!

Chuck said...

Another beauty, Mary. It reminds me of how that GC seems to look like it goes on forever. Very creative interpretation of the majesty of the site.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monty .. love looking at this - no wonder you're chuffed re-looking at it again ..

En plein air .. is fascinating .. I went to see a Cornish exhibition at an amazing place in London ..

The recording of the Cornish working people .. and wrote about it here ..

and please look too at the first post about Astor's office .. it is amazing ..

But I'd love you to paint something for me .. sometime, I hope ..

Cheers Hilary

Denise Covey said...

Wow, you painted that! So beautiful. I watched that tightrope walker recently. Scary. But what a glorious place. I have never visited but hope to one day. I adore travel too.


Julie Flanders said...

I've only been to the Grand Canyon once and have always wanted to go back. Even after seeing so many pics I was still stunned by how beautiful it is when I saw it in person. Gorgeous painting!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Monty,


I Love the pasteleque colors you used. The canyon is an amazing sight.

I had been there once as I drove through the country to Las Vegas. It was soooooo breathtaking. I had my dogs with me and worried as you had with your kids....

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Chuck, thank you. I love painting the Grand Canyon, but will have to work smaller in the future. Running out of storage space.

Thanks, Hilary. I loved your post about the Cornish working people. Would love to do a painting for you!

Denise, I think the tightrope walker got unsettled as well. Cannot imagine attempting such a feat! Thank you!

Thanks, Julie! I think it's impossible to portray the actual beauty of the Canyon. It is massive and surreal!

Michael, having the dogs with you had to be really scary! Thanks for visiting!