Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Oil Paintings

This Fall has been quite busy for me. Traveling, art shows, and backpacking, teaching a night class.... Yet, I have some time left to oil paint. Here are 3 new oils from October and Early November.
"Golden Autumn" 24x30 oil, palette knife (above Lockett Meadow, San Francisco Peaks, AZ)

"Boulders and Brambles" 9x12 oil, palette knife, painting on-site at Fain Park in Prescott Valley, a plein air painting

"Autumn's Song" 9x12 oil, palette knife, I started this at the Sedona Arts Festival and finished it in studio in mid October

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Christmas Courthouse prints available!

Christmas season is around the corner! These photos are from last years Christmas season in downtown Prescott. I am printing 5x7 images and matting them to fit an 8x10 frame. They will be avlailable at the Frame & I Gallery and Frame Shop, $18 each. Pick your own set of prints at 229 W. Gurley St. Prescott, AZ 86301. www.frameandi.com.  If you are from out of town, email me for information about shipping: russell@russelljohnsonart.com.
Christmas Tree


Thumb Butte


Monday, November 5, 2012

Backpacking in the Grand Canyon - Part 3

Early Sunday morning, we awoke to get a start at first light. We started hiking right at 6:30. The Red Canyon Trail, (a.k.a. New Hance Trail), starts in a wash for about 1.5 miles. We encountered a couple difficult rockfalls to scramble up. It veers left out of the wash climbing steadily to the base of the Redwall. The Redwall was short and difficult. Afterwards, we meandered in and out of rock slides and slopes to another wash. The trail was relentless and rugged. We soon approached a saddle where we took a good long break before the last push to the top. There were many sketchy spots where care and caution were needed. Soon, we made it to the rim for a total of 6.5 miles, taking us 6 hours to complete. The trek seemed to have ended abruptly. I always welcome the end but savour the experience, wanting to stay longer. Until next time... thanks again Grand Canyon for another invigorating trip. Enjoy this last selection of photos from our hike up:

low light hiking

first light

I was on this same trail about five years ago, some guys in my group built this big cairn, it's about half as tall now

here you can see to the saddle in the left-center before our last climb to the top

half moon
a little hazy from smoke

one of the many rocky scrambles

touches of fall colors

very cool rock tapestry

small beauties

dead juniper

Our fun group!

Backpacking the Grand Canyon - Part 2

Day 2 at the Grand Canyon was spent relaxing and exploring near our camping spot on a beach near New Hance Rapids. The setting was amazing and the lighting spectacular. I awoke before the sun began to light up the distant rim. I was awarded with an amazing show of light and color. The time on the beach is about relaxing, eating, playing, exploring, and preparing for the hike up. We filtered water and cooked meals on our little stove. We had pancakes for breakfast, Thai noodle bowl with chicken for lunch, and bean/beef burritos for dinner. After lunch, my Washington uncles and I went for a short hike up the river and found a cool keyhole cave behind a fallen slab of rock. The evening shadows and reflections were fabulous. Our camp spot was in the shade most of the day, we only had 3 hours of sun. While my uncles and I were hiking, the rest of the group played a game on the sand dunes and took a dip in the icey river. The night sky was full of bright stars since the moon didn't rise until close to 10:00. Here are my favorite pictures from our day at the river:

early risers

first light

New Hance rapids

I spy

touch of light

kissed by the sun



preparing breakfast

good morning - looking up river

our campsite

morning reflections

Doug and Steve

looking down river


late afternoon shadows and reflections


just before dark

Backpacking the Grand Canyon - Part 1

I made plans months ago and received a permit to hike down the Grandview Trail to New Hance Rapids and on up the Red Canyon Trail. I had hiked this same route about 11 years ago, yet many things seemed unfamiliar and new. We were a group of 10 and spent two nights at the river. As  always, words can't describe the beauty there. We left from Prescott around 5:30am for the trailhead. Since our ending trailhead was a different trail, we set up our shuttle system before starting our hike at 8:45. Grandview trail isn't an easy one. We descended 2,000 ft in 3 miles to Horshoe Mesa. We then quickly descended the Redwall down to the Tonto Trail for another 6 miles to New Hance Rapids. Our total mileage was 11.5 miles and we just made it to camp at dark. It was a long haul but well worth the effort. The cool sandy beach felt luxurious. The weather was a warm 78 and we enjoyed quite a bit of shade from the low Autumn sun. Here are some pictures highlighting our first day:

notice the smoky haze from a North Rim fire

gorgeous morning light


fall colors

descending the rugged Redwall

copper with blue patina

Page Springs

barrel cactus living on the edge

looking up Hance Creek from Tonto Trail, Cottonwood trees below

trekking along

late afternoon, last descent to the river

first good view of the river, looking west

New Hance Rapids below, looked closer than it took to get down there