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Tohono Chul

A former private home and grounds donated to the community by DIck and Jean Wilson

watercolor image of a shady garden courtyard with the corner of a white adobe building on the left. Red stairs lead up to a hidden entrance to the building. An open gate on the right invites exploration

Recently a friend and I visited the wonderful Tohono Chul botanical garden for an afternoon of plein air painting. The grounds and buildings were donated to the community by the former owners. I can only imagine that this courtyard would have been a favorite sitting place to savor the coolness offered by the shade of the trees. A private space, perhaps shared with family and friends.

Spectral Fantasy

Sightless, the desert watches and waits

A 3D small sculpture (5.5"x4"x4")
using a cholla branch skeleton that looks like a reptilian skull. Colored and turned eyeballs are inserted into natural hollows

Dead cholla branches are fairly easily found in the desert. Most of the time I leave them alone, but occasionally small pieces shout out.

“Spectral Fantasy,
Lying in the sand….watching,
Without eyes, waiting”

No living animal was sacrificed in the creation of this trophy.

Cholla, Maple and Walnut; water-based aniline dyes and india ink.
H=5.5″ x 4″x 4″

Contemplation

…The reality of diverse timelines

I continue to capture moments suspended in time on my morning walks. This time, a man and his dog stop for a breather. The little dog was acutely aware of his surroundings and his endearing peek at me from behind his human’s legs was irresistible. The man seemed transported by the morning to another place.

Our time lines synchronized as I drew level and we exchanged “good mornings”.

Dec 6, 2021

As the US Capitol fell to rioters wielding confederate flags, I was leaving the Tohono Chul botanical gardens in Tucson. Blissfully unaware of the momentous happenings across the country, I spotted a huge, aged cholla. Most of its limbs had been pruned away. A single withered green leaf basked in the sun, while a bleached paddle rose defiantly from a dead limb. A younger plant grew along side, sheltered by this wizened parent.

A metaphor perhaps….

I completed this watercolor at home from a photo taken on Dec 6, 2021. 11″ x 8″, 300lb rough cold pressed paper