Monday, October 5, 2009


"Red Rock Study" 6"x8' oil/c

This should actually be called the
"Study That Almost Wasn't" because I got
run off
three times before I was able to finally
set up and
paint. West of Albuquerque and
before you
get to Gallup, NM there are these
wonderful red
rock mountains that run along
the highway for about
twenty miles. I'm sure
John Wayne has spent
a movie or two on
location here.

I set up once and got run off by an
older gentleman
yelling Spanish at me.
I don't speak the language
but I knew he
wasn't happy with my presence so

I packed up my gear and left. I tried to
ignore the
mountains and painting potential,
but couldn't so I
pulled over and set up again
on a little side road. Wasn't long
another pick up truck pulled up and
a few feet from where I was painting.

The driver got out of his truck, spit at
the ground and
mumbled something
under his breath as he approached
location. "Gotta gun?" he asked.
"No" I replied.
"Ain't safe to be here
if you don't have a gun. If I
was you
I'd mosey on." Sounded like good advice
I packed up my gear a second time
and "mosied"
on down the highway
some more.

Unable to ignore the red rocks I got
about three miles
down the road and
pulled into a rest stop figuring this

would be a safe place to paint from.
I was wrong. I had
just put down my first
red wash when a highway patrolman

pulls up, red and blue lights flashing.
Same story...third
verse. I packed up again
and off down the road I went.

Finally, just before reaching Gallup I
found a secluded spot off the highway under
a tree. Twenty minutes later I had
my very first red rock mountain painting.
I went on to produce 18 paintings over four
days at Canyon De Chelly to go with
three paintings from Palo Duro Canyon
and a couple of grain elevators I found
outside of Amarillo, Texas. I
will be posting most of the paintings
here over the next week.


labrown said...

Yikes! Sounds like a scene out of "No Country for Old Men." I admire your persistence and risking your life for our visual pleasure! My parents are snowbirding down there this summer so I will keep these valuable lessons in mind. Looking forward to seeing the work and welcome back to blogland. /Lee

Steve Atkinson said...

Glad to see that you survived Gringo, and that you made it back. Next time wear that holster on your hip!! Great painting BTW!!

julie davis said...

Rusty, you're so brave! I would've been outa there after the first warning...but then, look at what you came back with--well worth it.