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As with everything in life, broad generalizations of things, people and places often overcome us and our viewpoints and biases affect how we view things around us. Something as large, diverse, and rich as the Grand Canyon State (Arizona) evokes many thoughts and emotions from all walks of life.
Some may view Arizona as a dusty borderland that is the last leg of a long journey on the trip to California. Some may think of its sprawling metropolises of Tucson and Phoenix as endless suburban developments and resorts dotted with palm trees and pavement that can melt one's skin off in the month of June and slogs of traffic and potholes on I-10. Others may think of the wide expanse of the Grand Canyon, their imaginations captured by its sheer depth and its legend as a true national treasure. Those in the wintry frozen North might dream about its swimming pools and 70 degree weather in December. Those living along the East Coast may think of cowboys and memories of the Old West. Some might think of rattlesnakes, scorpions, and spiders scurrying around the desert.
All of these things are true to some extent. Arizona is a hub of many different cultures and is one of the most geographically diverse places in America. It, like any place, has its share of problems and highlights. In any case, I felt compelled to paint how I see Arizona - what I envisioned growing up in Wyoming, and how I still see it after calling it home for two years. I wanted to paint image that pops in my head when I hear the very word.
When I think of Arizona, I think of the most beautiful sunsets in the world; dreamy, fiery and filled with an amazing aura of an endless sky. Reds, oranges, blues, and purples filling the sky. I think of overlooks and vistas with distant, craggy, isolated mountains. I think of the mighty Saguaro cactus, found only in the Sonoran Desert, silhouetted against these radiant skies. I think of the ocotillos jutting out of the earth with their red blooms. I think of rolling hills rippling along the desert floor, turned varying shades of red and purple in the golden hour light. I think of jagged cliffs, dropping into magnificent canyons overlooking the dramatic vistas. This thought of Arizona, as all the others I pondered people having, are true as well. Arizona is like no place on earth, and I have painted this to show I choose to see Arizona.
I would like to note that this was a quick painting with craft acrylics on a wood panel. I have never tried craft paints but liked the result and plan to use them in some future paintings.
May 6th, 2019
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