Capitol Reef National Park Artist in Residence

During October I had the privilege of living and working inside the smallest – at least in terms of visitation – of Utah’s five national parks, Capitol Reef. This was my third visit but my first as their new Artist in Residence program. I had stopped for a few days in a snowstorm on my way home from a similar residency in Zion National Park in 2012. In May of 2017 I served as the outside juror for the Utah Watercolor Society’s annual Arts and the Park week there.

Fall was a wonderful time to be in residence – golden cottonwoods along the Fremont River, temperate days and cool nights, low insect populations and possibly a bit quieter – though every time I was in the Visitor Center it was bustling. Fortunately for the flora and fauna, the preceding drought was easing, but unfortunately for the outdoor painter, there were a lot of wet days.

Doubleoverthe Reef Lo Res

A gorgeous double-rainbow over historic Fruita, out my studio window — but of course this means it was raining….

Rain comes to the Henrys (1024x7610

Rain Comes to the Henrys, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 15″

I spent a lot more time getting to know the east side of the Reef, enjoying extensive views of the country’s longest monocline, the colors of the uplifted layers, the slots that drain the angled spine, all presided over by enough snow in the Henry Mountains east of the Park to be skiable (at least by backcountry skiers).


Snow in the Henrys (1024x765)

Snow in the Henrys, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 15″

My stay wasn’t long enough, so I was a bit frenetic about trying to get everywhere, see everything and produce as much work as I could, at the expense of getting to know staff or the nearby town of Torrey. I have another 5.5 months to continue the work I began there before presenting a portfolio of choices for the Park’s collection. Here are some of my favorites so far.