The Final Report from Beatty Nevada

The final day at the Goldwell Open Air Museum’s Workspace Artist in residency:

From this:redbarnemptygallerystudio

To this:


And this:

studiofinalnorthwallwAnd this:

studiofinalnortheastwallwAnd this:

studiosouthwestwallwI took almost no photos the last two days; during exhibits I always think I will take lots and then, as I’m talking and greeting and hugging, I forget. I even forgot to get photos of Suzanne and Charles and Sammie today, which is shocking.

I did get a photo of John, who as one of the regulars at the Barn wandered in from time to time or stopped to chat me up while I was plein airing out on the desert: he was first to the Open Studio, and so I was still in my remembering to photo  mode.

studiojohndreamwThat’s Dream, his greyhound on the floor. She isn’t really impressed by paintings but decided I was OK. John bought the very last painting I did, Zabriskie Point. I would have liked to have brought that home with me, but I also am pleased that it was he who bought it.

Here’s someone whose photo I remembered to take at just about the same time — Jer was talking to John, so I caught him looking very like his skeptical self:

studiojerwThe painting in back of him is one that is coming home with us.

Here’s a photo taken by Pam Brekas, who visited and insisted not only on taking the picture but on emailing it to me:


So here are the final stats of the Goldwell residency. 27 “successful” paintings done; 5 discarded, for a total of 32 paintings over 42 days. Two were over 50 x 50″; two were 18 x 36″ (and two failed ones were also 18 x 36″ — hey 50% ain’t bad), three were odd sized canvases (including 2 bad ones), and the rest were either 18 x 24 or 12 x 16″. All the boards, 12 x 16, 18 x 24, and 18 x 36 were done plein air. 5 paintings were done on canvas, in the studio, unstretched. I’m taking home the two big unstretched canvases, as well as some others. I did far more landscapes than Beatty-scapes, which I did not expect. But the landscape cried out for being looked at, again and again. So I did. And then I painted it, again and again, — the playa 4 times; the Beattie Mountain 4 times; Golden Canyon/Zabriskie Point 3 times, Bullfrog Hills at least twice. Sometimes I found myself dreaming of the great hills around the Red Barn, with its enormous expanse of space to the south.

I worked intensely every day except a couple after I finished the  big paintings and the last four days, visiting Titus Canyon, entertaining Lia and Bo, and getting ready for the Exhibit. I don’t think I ever worked as intensely at art as I have these last 42 days.

About 60 people showed up for the Open Studio, and this morning, George and Carrie Radomski, as well as Suzanne, Charles, and Sammie showed up. So we had a good chance to chat with the people we came to know best on this last full day we have in Beatty.

Working by myself, out in the desert air, I had a lot of time to contemplate the human left-overs on an indifferent landscape. The desert doesn’t get rid of human detritus, such as happens in wet climates. The desert holds the junk, almost indifferently. You often can’t see the human elements until you walk the landscape, unless, like the mine Tailings, the very rock has been violated. But if left alone for 100 years, perhaps even that will disappear, looking like part of the rock from which it was drilled. Left alone, the place feels like an ancient, calm, deserted ruin, governed by an extraordinary force of sun and heat and wind and flash floods.

Tonight the wind is howling. A dust storm has blown up and a day that began as calm and beautiful as a dream has turned into an unforgiving blast. It’s not cold, which is even more weird to we outlanders. It’s time to go home to Portland, when, if the wind blows like this, it blows rain, not dust, and it will be cold outside, not warm. And at this time of the year in Portland, it’s showering flower petals, not dust. Going home, I’ll have to readjust my eyes and palette, but after living in the desert for 6 weeks, it’s likely that everything will look new and strange to me. This is an added bonus, because I paint better when I’m confronted with what appears new and strange.

Thank you Goldwell. Thank you Richard and David. Thank you Charles and Sammie. Thank you Maria. And thank you, Suzanne, for all the support you provided.

The experience enhanced my eye, expanded my breath, fulfilled a longing for space, and, perhaps, even improved my painting. It also made me love the desert and hope to be able to return.


This entry was posted in Art, Beatty Nevada, commentary, Death Valley, Friends, Goldwell Open Air Art Museum, landscape, non-representative, painting, plein air, Red Barn at Rhyolite and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Final Report from Beatty Nevada

  1. June says:

    Hey Christie,

    Is that water running yet? When it does, we may have to come out and flush in celebration.

    And when you come to Oregon, come on by. I can’t promise a cake, but there’s a bakery right down the street. Good to hear from you.


  2. Christy says:

    Hey! I like seeing your works … we had a great time having a few beers with you while we worked on the cistern 🙂

    Maybe we’ll see you in Oregon one day!

    Christy & Todd


  3. Duemiapaype says:

    Great article.. hope to definitely visit again.


  4. Sheila says:

    Your time there seemed to fly by – could it really be 6 weeks have passed already? As usual, it is enlightening to see the paintings in such a way as to get a feel for their actual size. When you are posting, my mind always sees them all the same size. The huge one you are standing beside in the picture above takes on a whole different air now that I see how big it is.

    Safe trip home and pity the poor of us still dealing with snow storms…


  5. Suzanne,

    This is a great report. I really enjoyed the visuals & the artwork is fabulous. Your efforts & passion never cease to amaze me. You are quite a woman and an excellent example of what one can do when they put their mind to it. Congratulations to you and the participating artists. Bravo!



  6. terry grant says:

    You always impress me, but this time you have gone above and beyond. The paintings look so wonderful. I am really looking forward to seeing them.


  7. rosemarie sansone says:

    One more thing. I remember saying “well, aren’t you something”. Well you certainly are…



  8. rosemarie sansone says:

    Oh my goodness. I am so moved by the work. Thank you for sharing your great experience. I felt like I was right back there with you! Totally amazing!!!

    Rosemarie Sansone


  9. Gerrie says:

    I am uber impressed, June. A great body of work. I look forward to seeing these some day, soon. Hope the Oregon green doesn’t shock your system, too much.


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