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The Grand Canyon in the U.S. Southwest is one of those incredibly beautiful, majestic places that many people “know” even if they haven’t been there. So unusual is it for its landscape, that it is well worthy of being photographed and painted.
But familiarity, if it does not always breed contempt, often breeds a sense of ennui, the attitude of, “Oh, the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Yeah, I’ve seen that,” and because we feel we are so familiar with its appearance, we discount its sheer majesty and wonder.
Storm Maiden, the artwork, invites us to look at the Grand Canyon anew and see it not as a National Park attracting millions of visitors a year, a tourist spot with gift shops and lodging and guided tours, but as a stunning landscape of unusual beauty that simply cannot be tamed and tucked into an informative brochure.
A young woman, dressed in scarlet, stands, arms outstretched, on an outcrop, a canyon storm building and emanating around her. The breeze billows and blows through the fabric of her shawl and of her dress, and she herself is mysterious, grand, commanding, and confident, exulting in the onset of the storm and in her part of it.
Who is she? Why is she there? Is she real? Or is she a canyon maiden, one that we think we see but when we shake our heads and turn to look again, is not there?
The answers to the questions are up to the viewer, because the story of Storm Maiden is one that the viewer discovers on his or her own upon entering the world of the canyon and standing, with the maiden, at the brink of the storm.
Storms can be, and frequently are, powerful and frightening things. But storms are also beautiful, and when one stands at the brink of one – safely on a strong, large rock that will not be moved no matter the wind or rain – one laughs with a deep, upwelling joy at that power and majesty.
This is not an office. This is not a parking lot. This is a place of magic and fantasy – but it is also real.
Featured in 40 Fine Art America groups.
December 4th, 2018
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