Thursday, August 24, 2006

August 24, 2006
Woke up to thunder, dogs huddling in the hall (broke in the front door, I swear Peaches has one of those cat burgle doo hickeys, although in this case I guess it would a dog burgle doo higley), took off from Cave Creek at about nine, after a stop at the office.

Rained off and on all the way to Payson. Stopped three times to sketch. Something I've never done before. I usually take photos, but I never seem to get back to the reference. When I stopped and actually forced myself to sketch the tattered clouds hanging over Four Peaks, and the misty canyons of the Rio Verde Valley, I learned more, or at least I retained more. I guess that's why so many painters swear by plein air. Felt good. I'll post some results when I get home.

Had some extra time so I took the side road to Gisela (Guy-Zee-La). Never been there. Been driving by the turnoff for a quarter century always saying to myself, "One of these times. . ." Well, today was the day. Shot over the ridge (it's about six miles off the highway) and found a little community snuggled along the creek bottom. Very pretty. Kind of a small Camp Verde, or Patagonia. Frank Mell had some land there and started an art colony or something in the late eighties, but he got crossways with someone and well, you know small towns.

Decided to have lunch at The Rye Bar & Saloon. Sat by the window and watched the clouds hug the tops of the Mazatals (I think it's Spanish for "hard country", or that's what the waitress said). Had a pastrami sando, iced tea and cowboy beans (Yes, I'm travelling alone) and sketched the soggy sky and terrain out the window.

Up above Kohl's Ranch, the clouds hung beneath the Tonto Rim (technically that would be "Under The Tonto Rim") and when I drove through them and came out on top, I looked back and it looked like mini-forest fires all along the ridgelines.

I'm meeting the Top Secret Writer at a Top Secret Location (I'm in room 167 and he will be in 171) to go for round two of The Top Secret Project. Sketches, insights and option money to follow.

Before I forget, one of my fave places is in danger of closing. In fact I'm going there next weekend. Here's the Email I got today:

"If you have followed the news in Wichita over the past 4 months then you already know that Old Cowtown is in jeopardy of having our doors closed and perhaps even our buildings and artifacts sold off [this story can be found online at - the Wichita Eagle’s online website]. We are not going down without a fight!"
—Ed LeRoy

More on this later. The rain has stopped, up here in the cool pines. Big, dramatic skies all day. Frankly, this is the only place to be in Arizona in August and by the looks of the traffic, I'm not alone in that assessment.

"Veni, Vidi, Velcro....I came, I saw, I stuck around."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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