The Art of R. Geoffrey Blackburn

Zion Park Oil Paintings & Charcoal Sketches

"Having spent most of my red rock time near Moab, Utah, I had never painted Zion National Park. I had only driven through Zion National Park once, years earlier and had nothing to work from. No photos, no sketches, nothing but fleeting memories. I wanted a painting or two of Southwestern Utah to round out my red rock portfolio. So, I zipped down to Zion National Park on the 3rd of December, arriving at the park in the late afternoon and went straight up the Zion Canyon road taking pictures all the way up and down! WOW! Red rock is definitely not red rock! Different formations, different colors and structures. Whereas the Moab area reads (to me) as strongly horizontal as well as vertical, with a lot of reds and oranges, Zion National Park, reads mostly vertical and the colors are more tan than red. So much for assumptions.

I spent a day and a half hiking around snapping pictures, making notes and freezing my fanny off! It was so cold that I had to thaw out my fingers between shots. There were traces of snow on the ground and wildlife, particularly mule deer, in abundance. I raced home and went through my hundred or so shots and in spite of being photographically challenged, found that I had several likely candidates. Selecting and splicing several under and over-exposed late afternoon shots, I set about to create this painting finishing just after Christmas (or thinking I had). Realizing I may have time to squeeze another painting out by the end of the month, I decided to go for it and paint another one. The only way I could do this and maintain acceptable detail and quality was by painting a small (15 x 11") piece. Amazingly, I finished this second piece entitled " Early Risers" on January 27th. In early April 2008, I decided to add significant detail to the painting from what you see above. The "Upgrade" was completed 20th of April . 205 hours to paint. I upgraded the painting again in 2012, adding yet more detai including brook trout in the shadows. You are looking at the result.

I know one thing for sure, I am going back to Zion National Park for some extensive exploration!"

R. Geoffrey Blackburn


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