Red Rock National Park
Sedona Arizona USA
I have always wanted to try painting en plein aire but never was able to get up the nerve to actually do it. I've gone places with plans to pull out my watercolors and paint something, but the idea of someone coming up to me and looking at my painting always kept me from actually painting. I'd usually draw a sketch of my subject, and then work from a photograph at home.
But I decided I really wanted to give it a try, and so we got into the car and drove 90 minutes north of Phoenix to Sedona Arizona, and spent a couple of hours in Red Rock National Park. We were able to find a spot near a bubbling stream. I had packed a bag with all of my portable supplies (of which I used only about 10% of the items), and had also brought along my folding chair to sit in comfortably while I painted. I had planned on doing 2 or 3 30-minute sketches, but ended up spending 90 minutes on just one, and felt I had gotten over the plein aire fever, at least for the day.
We plan to go back to Sedona soon. We had been up there only once or twice in the 17 years we've lived in Phoenix, but we took a friend along who knew the area really well. We visited a Buddhist stupa (the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya), had a tasty late lunch in a deli, and then walked around the big tourist shopping mall, Telaquepaque. This time, we were able to discover the strange energy of this city. Many artists live and work in Sedona, and the city is surrounded by incredible red rock formations that are a part of the Grand Canyon geography. A totally different vibe than the one you get living in Phoenix.