Sunday, September 8, 2013

THE PLUMERIA IN THE DESERT...Michele Ross Fine Artist


by Michele Ross

Well it has indeed been a long time since I wrote on this blog. 3 years in fact. The major project that this ocean loving girl moved to the desert for concluded several months ago, and now I am exploring my new habitat and finding things to like, and to paint,  about this ocean-less scene.  There have been many changes in my life since moving here, but those things that are my stable points are ever with me. My husband of 37 years, my family,several steady friends plus some wonderful new friends, and of course, as always, my art. This "plumeria" has learned to adapt and to create changes that are wonderful and exciting.

Sin City is the other name for Las Vegas. Its a marketing name for the millions of visitors that come here to "play" the casinos and see the shows. I don't have all that much to do with "Sin City" and only go to the world famous strip for special art events and shows. There is of course another side of Vegas, the every day hard working folk who live here and go about daily lives, the artists of the Old Downtown Arts District, the many churches and the beautiful local mountains. Then there's the vast desert and many mountain ranges surrounding us.

Las Vegas is merely minutes to a few hours drive to some of the most incredible scenic wonders of the US West. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is just 15 minutes outside of the city and is a true natural wonder. Huge desert vistas, beautiful red rock mountains and canyons are to be seen there and hiking trails abound. In winter the snow makes a striking contrast against the red rocks and mountains. 
Below left, A watercolor I did of Yucca Blossoms at Red Rock Cyn, & Right, the View

Right behind and to the north of Red Rock Canyon are the Spring Mountains. This relatively small mountain range has at its peak Mt. Charleston, a summit nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. considering that Vegas Valley has an average elevation of about 2100 feet, we look up nearly 9,000 feet to the top of this range. The Spring Mountains are a real oasis for us here in the desert. You can get up to the high forests in about 40 minutes by car from my side of town, and find yourself  in temperatures 20-30 degrees cooler than in the valley.The air is filled with the scent of high mountain pines and even the ancient bristle cone pines live on the high ridges. These trees are the oldest tree species on earth, the the oldest of them dwell in the White Mountains in California about 4 hours drive northwest of Vegas. 
Below left, Mt Charleston Summit rises at the top of the Spring Mountains- Right, houses 
at Mt. Charleston town

The Spring Mountains is home to many wild west creatures, including the famous American Mustang. Our local wild herd lives up near a community called Cold Creek at about 6,000 ft elevation and above. This area is near the far north west end of the range and has some of the longest and most beautiful vistas in the region. I first visited the herd last April, and really look forward to getting back up there when there's snow on the lowers slops again.
Below: A Watercolor I did of  2 mustang stallions up at Cold Creek 
And that's just what's very close by. 

The Valley of Fire park is just 1.5 hours away, the Grand Canyon South Rim is just 5 hours away, as is the Grand Canyon North Rim. Then there's Zion, a mere 2.5 hours away. 

The first time I saw Zion, looking back on that wall of white domed peaks from the winding road that goes east through the park- I burst into tears from the sheer majesty and beauty. I have yet to get back, but Zion  does not leave you easily, it sort of goes right through you and takes a piece of your heart forever,

But more about that on the next post.........

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