Agave and Snow, Sierra Ancha Wilderness
40×60 oil on canvas 2022
When I first moved to Arizona back in 1989, I was worried. I had spent my childhood climbing trees, throwing pinecones, and playing in the snow of the Sierra Nevada foothills. I was worried that Arizona would not meet my aesthetic and outdoor wandering needs.
I told my husband, “Arizona is dry and parched and full of old people.” Parts of that are true, but then my eyes opened, and I fell in love. Arizona’s contrasts are unashamedly dramatic. The Sonoran Desert collides with forests, vast horizons meet the sky, tributaries trickle into the mighty Colorado River, and white snow rests on red rocks and sage-green cactus.
Our seasons are subtle here, but each has its own revealing light that is irresistible to my artist’s eye.
In this piece, I am standing at the precipice of Parker Creek in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. I gaze downward and study the deep dramatic jewel tones of a majestic agave who, last season, sent up its florescence. It is a late winter day, so there are still patches of snow, but they are melting and finding their way to Roosevelt Lake. I breathe deeply and think, “Well Arizona, you’ve done it again.”
Maybe Arizona is full of old people because once you come here, you’ll want to stay as long as you can.