Archive for October, 2008

Week 4: More time to finish the work

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The remaining four panels include the three largest, and even though my palette is determined and I have plenty of materials, I am certain I will need additional time—which the park readily grants me. I now have until November 15 and I feel much relieved.

Mountain peak and sky

Mountain peak and sky

The "heart" and other features

The "heart" and other features

I finish the mountain peak and sky, and start on the three final panels. Each of these has icons of the park included not only in the main body, but in the self-frame margins as well.

The panel with “The Heart of the Mountain;” a geological feature, includes the other half of the cave portion, as if the cavern is hidden under the mountainside. Also included are fruits from the pioneer orchard. The native pine & brilliant fall aspen complete the piece.

Week 3: Building the panels

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

My final draft is approved by members of the staff; I immediately make my patterns and begin cutting.

This part will progress rapidly, as I can work at my own speed, for as long each day/night as I wish. I have brought 1½ crates of glass with me, as well as many boxes of scrap, so am confident of having all types and colors I need.

First panel

First and second panels

Second panel

Third panel

The first panel I produce includes Indian Paintbrush, a lizard, an Indian relic and Notch Peak. I have designed a “self-frame” around the entire project; I use it quite frequently as I find it gives a finished look to the work.

The second panel—the smallest—is of the Big Dipper, symbolizing the “Night Sky” program featured in many of the National Parks, honoring dark skies, which are becoming a rarity with today’s light pollution.

Fourth panel

Fourth panel

The third depicts Lexington Arch and a portion of Lehman Cave, and the fourth is the “Thumb”, the cliffs and sky above that part of the summit.

I am pleased that the finished panels fit into the windows of my cabin, where they will remain until installation.

Even with the freedom from my normal daily life, and being able to set my own work pace doing what I truly love doing, I am beginning to see that it will be impossible to finish this project in the time allotted to me.

Week 2: Work begins

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I begin work on a final drawing to be submitted next week for final approval. I have designed each separate panel to flow into the next, so that all will be part of the whole.

This project is an eight-panel window opening, and a great composition to design within. I am up most mornings before the sun and take time to enjoy the wonders of this area.

Since I live in the shadow of the mountains, the evening falls early, but most days are pleasant enough so that I can work outside for a while and I have frequent visitors wanting to see how the project is progressing.

It has snowed twice, although it melts away by the afternoon.

A highlight this week was being invited to attend the Great Basin Foundation open-house and dinner, where I was introduced to many members, some of whom were instrumental in this area becoming a national park, and have come from out-of-state.

Week 1: First impressions

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
Heart of the Mountain

Heart of the Mountain

My first impression of Great Basin National Park is “WOW!”

Our Colorado scenery is outstanding, but here the country is desolately rugged and the mountains rise against a vibrant blue sky from a flat, empty valley, hazy in the fall afternoon sun. All around is the brilliant gold of rabbit-brush. The clear air smells of pine and sage and is filled with the chatterings of birds. Brightly-hued groves of aspen dapple the folds of the mountains. A small lizard greets me upon my arrival at the cabin that will be my home, studio and workshop for the next month. From the rear windows I can see far over into Utah, and the gash of Notch Peak against the sky will become my compass. The front porch opens onto the expanse of the mountains marching straight up before me to become majestic Wheeler Peak. Each late afternoon I watch the craggy shadow of this summit creep across the valley floor until it envelopes the far range and Notch Peak in the soft blues and grays of evening.

I spend my time hiking, exploring, sketching, and familiarizing myself with the area and the people, both present and historic. I visit Lehman Cave numerous times and walk to the bristlecone pine grove, where I am humbled to be in the same space and time with these ancient, living trees. There is much wildlife to see—deer, jack-rabbits, turkey and ground squirrels.

Me and my house for the duration of the project

Me and my house for the duration of the project

My house for the duration of my Artist-in-Residence stay

My house for the duration of the project

I do measurements and fit templates. I ask for input from the park staff on what they would like to be included in this work. I begin thumbnail sketches, and toss most as soon as I get them on paper. With a work of this size, I need to “map” my panels, and the only space large enough is on my bedroom walls, so up goes the map of the whole project, life-sized. It hits me how massive this job really is.

Project map in my bedroom

Project map in my bedroom