May was pretty wonderful in Arizona this year. We had many days where the temperatures were 20 or 30 degrees below average, and I made sure to try to take as much advantage as possible to enjoy the outdoors before the triple-digit roast commenced.
I started out the month with a trip to Agua Caliente Park in Tucson, the location of my solo exhibition taking place in 2020. My friend Ursula and I explored the trails in the park and I took measurements and photos of the exhibition space. It’s a beautiful little oasis in the desert, featuring lush areas resulting from the natural springs and Arizona’s beautiful native fan palm trees. The saguaros were just starting to bloom, too.
My friend Kalisha and her partner Andrew had a Derby Party on May 4, so I fashioned myself a fascinator with paper, Scotch tape, and watercolor paint, made some snacks, and Aaron and I spent a lovely afternoon at their apartment in downtown Tempe. I made a small longshot bet on the winner, and came away $300 richer. I think I’m luckier when I’m not in Kentucky!
Later in the month, I spent more time in the outdoors exploring the areas surrounding Phoenix. I visited the Superstition Mountains, Usery Mountain Regional Park, and Boyce Thompson Arboretum. Usery Mountain, located about 20 miles west of me, reminded me of the Tucson Mountains. It features lots of saguaros and sweeping, expansive views (and if you know me, you know I loooove the Tucson Mountains). From the cave near the top of the mountain, you could see the Phoenix metro urban areas to the west, and I even spotted the small butte (Bell Butte or “T” Mountain) located next to our apartment.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is the largest and oldest botanical garden in the state of Arizona, and was absolutely gorgeous. It is located about 45 minutes east of where I live in the midst of gorgeous mountain scenery. It was so peaceful (despite the fact that I was quite literally attacked by hummingbirds repeatedly), and I feel sure this place will become a favorite.
Last but not least, I did a lot of painting! I completed five pieces, and three of these were quite large compared to my usual work in recent years. After all, I have 88 linear feet of gallery space to fill! I only used paper with one painting this month, continuing my exploration of Aquabord (a surface made of clay). There are many things I like about Aquabord, but also a few things that I don’t. I am starting to learn the types of scenes that work best on this surface and be able to select appropriately.
All the paintings I made this month are featured below with the original photo that inspired them. Many of my larger pieces are being held back for exhibition at my show, but there are still a few paintings in my online shop if you want to shop now ›