The Art of R. Geoffrey Blackburn

Arches Park Paintings

"Over the last 40 years, I have trekked to Moab on countless occasions, in the 1970's and early 80's mostly mining-related, later to visit my late friend from that era, geologist, and former head of Buttes Oil and Gas, Bob Norman.  During the uranium years I took Bob and other geologists into the outback to show this or that group of claims or leases.  Needless to say, I saw, experienced really, astonishing sights that few will ever see.  But, perhaps the most interesting of these is Arches National Park north of Moab.  Here I found a plethora of wind-carved natural arches of all description-the park is literally full of them.  Also, there are numerous interesting slot mini canyons and  "fins" of red rock here and there. The artist side of me demanded that many of these scenes be turned into oil paintings.  I have captured hundred of images at various times of the year and time of day.  I usually favor dawn and near sunset for the "honey light" and dramatic purple shadows. I particularly love the magic in these purple shadows and take great pleasure exploring them in my paintings. 

Fortunately, this amazing area was withdrawn from mineral exploration and a national park was created to protect it.  During my mining/exploration/promotion days I did have occasion to visit a block of mining claims just north of the Arches Park boundary where someone had burrowed into the ground and found some fairly rich deposits of uranium.  The guy that took my partner and me out there was a local claim owner and promoter, Harold Stewart.  As I recall, Harold wanted us to package up his claims and pitch it to one of the big corporations for exploration.  I can't recall if we took it or not, but we may have.  Around this time I had effective control of around 650,000 acres of land in the form of state leases and lode claims.  Several claim holders came to us to package and pitch their properties to the Big Boys.  Also, the Big Boys came to us and asked for the same service in reverse.  The BIg Boys included, GE, Mobil Oil, Gulf Oil, Getty Oil, Utah Power and Light, Consumers Power and Light and several other players of magnitude.  These outfits liked the way I packaged the properties and did business-they particularly liked not having to deal with a bunch of wild-eyed claim owners.  I was their go-to-guy.

Our company, North American Resources Corporation was headquartered, in Salt Lake City, so when I returned, from Moab or other areas, in addition to my company work, I'd also be working on one of my paintings.  Arches Park is one of my favorite sources of inspiration. After the uranium boom of the '70's my visits focused on getting material for my paintings.  My most recent trips were with either my friend Tom Davis or my wife Jean.  There is an amusing story connected with my painting of Double Arch.   If you haven't been there, definitely put Arches National Park on your Bucket List!"

R. Geoffrey Blackburn


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Revised: 04/12/20