Journal of Michael Baum / Travels of an Artist

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Image Collecting in the Garden of the Gods

   First Light in the Garden, Michael Baum
First light in the Garden (photo) Michael Baum






Pissed Off and Prickly, Michael Baum
Pissed Off and Prickly (photo) Michael Baum

Tuesday, 7/10/07
I have agreed to put a couple of paintings in the Rock Ledge Ranch art show. So here I am in the Garden of the Gods watching the sun rising, a misty red ball floating over the ridge. When I was out here yesterday, I found some good likely locations for sunrise shots. I'm standing on the spine of a hogback, camera ready. The breeze is laden with the tangy scent of pinon and grass. The rocks rise before me. The slopes at their feet sweep into the green grassy valley below. The rocks glow a moody orange in the first rays of sunlight, then catch fire as the sun strengthens. The valley remains in deep, blue-green shadow. Salmon clouds roil and scud across the pastel sky bringing drama to the landscape. The clouds are building. Soon they will overwhelm the sun, and the photo session will end. I take photo after photo as the cloud shadows sweep across the rocks creating shifting moods of light and shadow.

Finally, the clouds win out. I think I have several good shots, so begin to move down the hogback into the valley. The grass is amazing, waist deep and speckled with flowers. I've never seen it like this. Fat seed heads sway in the breeze. Brief splashes of sun pan the valley and rocks. More photos. Then, the sun is gone. The clouds cover the sky leaving few openings. I'll have to come back tomorrow and take up where I leave off today. I work my way back to the car. I'm satisfied that I have some good painting images for the show. I think I would like to come back and try some watercolor sketches.

I drive under cloudy skies to the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, park, and begin to explore. I can scout potential images even if the lighting is too flat today. Surprisingly, I get some neat shots of the chapel brooding in the dim light. There's something about churches and stormy skies I keep returning to. Walking by the pond, I almost step on a huge crawdad in the grass. I take a few macro shots, sticking the camera right in his face, pissing him off. I see a couple of other possibilities, but the light is flat. I'll have to return another morning.  

   Morning Light in the Garden, Michael baum
             Morning light sweeps the Garden of the Gods (photo) Michael Baum

Back home, first look: I'm happy with what I'm seeing. Now, I have to choose the best images for the job. I want to do a large panorama. Don't know if that will work in the show. They have a small exhibition space. It shouldn't matter. One of the paintings will be small. The other...?  

I went for the larger painting.

"Sunrise in the Garden, Michael Baum
Sunrise in the Garden, Michael Baum, oil painting, 36" x 48" (print available)

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