18" H x 19.5" W Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord. "Cactus Squirrel" was an award winner at the Pastel Society of New Mexico's 18th Annual National Pastel Painting Exhibition 2009, at EXPO New Mexico, Alburquerque, NM. From there, "Cactus Squirrel" went to Brea, CA, as part of the International Society of Pastel Artists special exhibition there in February 2010. Next, the painting will travel to Ft. Collins, CO, to be part of the 19th Naional Exhibition of the Artist Association of Northern Colorado.
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon offers many wonders, not the least of which is the vast, colorful expanse of the canyon itself. But the area is also home to wildlife, of which one of the most endearing is the squirrel who inhabits the trail areas that go down into the base of the canyon. I managed to hike down maybe two miles or so last year, out to a point where we could sit enjoy looking out over the canyon, but I found much to savor on the way down. This little guy was just too cute as he kept standing up on his tippy-toes to consume the buds of this succulent canyon. I knew as I photographed him that he would have to star in painting.
Although the squirrel wins the "cuteness" award, these sunwashed cacti were as compelling for me as the squirrel. I had come upon this scene in the late afternoon, and the low angle of the sun bathed the entire setting in a warm, golden light. I just hoped that day that I could visually remember the look and feel of that sun back in my studio.
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