In March of 2011 I was one of thirty artists invited to go on a “dream junket” to San Carlos, Mexico to paint, sketch and shoot reference for a Sea of Cortez exhibition at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona. And of course I happily accepted the chance to spend a week in a beachfront condo with 29 fellow artists.
One of the truly special things we got to do was to spend a day in a boat cruising some of the islands. There were birds everywhere and just about every one of them was a new species for me.
At one point, fishing lines were put in the water. I didn’t pay much attention since I was riveted by the bird life, which included brown pelicans blue-footed boobies, gannets, cormorants, frigatebirds and wonderfully graceful tropicbirds.
We cruised around near this outcropping on one of the islands.
A gannet flew by.
And, at a distance, a magnificent frigatebird flew by. In the meantime, someone hooked a yellowjack and hoisted it onto the boat. We were all gathered around admiring it when I looked up and spotted a frigatebird flying towards the boat, coming closer and closer. I had my camera with the long lens and started to shoot photos as fast as I could as the bird came right over our heads.
Frigatebirds mostly make their living stealing fish from other birds and this one had spotted ours, hoping for an opportunity to snag it. Alas, no. But I snagged enough good photos to create a triptych I titled “Magnificent Flyer”. I was honored when it was chosen to be used for the exhibition and direction banners at the museum.
It’s a triptych showing one Magnificent Frigatebird who came swooping in behind our boat after one of the artists caught a fish. His landing gear was down, hoping to snag it if he got a chance. I grabbed my camera and got five photos of him. I was really pleased to see these three and submitted all of them for the curator to chose from. And even more pleased when he gave me the go-ahead to do all of them as a set.
Here are the three paintings. Each of them is 40×16″:
You can see the other two paintings, “El Tigre (Nacapuli Canyon” and “Up Close-Sally Lightfoot Crab”, plus my other posts about my trip to the Sea of Cortez as part of a group of 30 artists here.
What a trip it was! The whole package…great scenery, interesting animals, terrific traveling companions who are also great artists and, in 2013, the exhibition at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to top it off.
I’ll be blogging about specific aspects of this experience and the art that I plan to create from it between now and showtime, but today I thought I’d share an overview of some of my favorite images, an album, if you will.
And, for this coming Mongolia Monday, I’ll compare and contrast Mongolia’s Gobi with the part of the Sonora Desert that I have now visited.