These are the benefits of the Artist-in-Residence program, so says the sign at the Grotto shuttle stop with a picture of the little house/former museum/original visitor center. I hope I have given them to some of my visitors and observers.
For the artist, the benefit of immersion in a new place can’t be quantified. Instead of a quick study or a slideshow of photos, I slowly begin to understand the place. I recognize landmarks that I’ve seen from being at them and seeing them from many vantages. I know where I want to draw the next picture when I head up to the east rim again, or where the rock with the interesting desert varnish is on the trail.
And then, the opportunity to carry myself into such country also indirectly affects the art produced. Of course, who can resist painting such scenery? But I also find the act of walking long distances is a meditation. I get ideas to take back to the studio. (Why is it more often going up than down?) Next up, shaped-canvas landscapes.