|Mary Montague Sikes in Cielo Bella Art Gallery with her meditation paintings|
Yes and no.
When I first visited Sedona in the early 1990s, I was both stunned and captivated by the scenery. No wonder so many of the old western movies used the Red Rock Country as a background. I loved the "feel" of the area. I enjoyed snapping photos--actually mostly 35 mm color slides at that time. I liked the New Age atmosphere all around me.
Over the years, we've returned many times. The Hotel El Tovar is part of my coffee table book, Hotels to Remember. Side stories and many photos in the book relate to Sedona and the area. I've taken art classes there, and I set my novel, Eagle Rising, in and around Sedona. What better place to visit and promote my art?
That's why I returned to Cielo Bella Art Gallery in the Village of Oak Creek to sign books and to talk about my new Master's Meditation Paintings and Soul Songs that accompany them. The gallery is also featuring my Giclee prints from Hotels to Remember, and I plan to ship some of the original paintings from the book for display there.
On this trip, it made me sad to know that the Grand Canyon National Park was closed. The El Tovar is located inside the park, so that historic edifice, along with many other famous tourist stops, is closed as well. I cannot imagine the disappointment of planning all year long for a special trip to the Canyon and being stopped by the antics of foolish politicians from visiting it. I wanted to go and sit along the edge, take more photos, sketch, and muse about my writing as well as imagine new paintings I would like to create.
The wonder of the Grand Canyon, the New Age essence, the vortexes hidden among the Red Rocks, and so much more beckon me to cross the country and show my art somewhere different where visions align with my own.
I love Virginia, but my breath catches as soon as the Red Rocks come into view. The artist and the writer within me are both torn. No wonder Mark Twain loved to travel.
(The art work behind me in the photograph is the work of other gallery artists. The art pieces on the table are paintings in progress from the Master's Meditation series.)