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Tucson is located at the northeastern end of the Sonoran Desert, which covers much of southern Arizona and northwestern Sonora. Most peoples' views of "the Southwest" are conditioned by the Santa Fe artists who painted northern New Mexico starting around the 1920s. The Sonoran Desert, home of saguaro cactus and palo verde tree, is quite different. In my opinion, it has not been explored adequately for its artistic potential, and any move in this direction is currently corrupted by (1) critical dictums that artists should paint "politically relevant" pictures, (2) art school dictums that New York represents the vanguard so that the best Arizona paintings should look like New York paintings, and (3) economic forces promoting commercially viable images popular with tourists, i.e. howling coyotes with kerchiefs. I am very interested, instead, in the work of (1) the French impressionists, (2) the first painters who moved to Santa Fe and California in the 1910s and 20s, and (3) the Soviet painters of the 1950s-70s, who all painted the life and landscape around them, honestly, as they saw it. To me, this was a record of the sense of place that had evolved in that area before corporate McCulture moved in. Much of my landscape painting has been done during camping and hiking trips throughout the Sonoran Desert region.

470 - Sunset light and Moonrise near Raven Butte, Arizona.469 - Morning in camp, Tinajas Altas range, southwest, Arizona
470 -- Sunset light and Moonrise near Raven Butte, Arizona. Raven Butte is a dark brown volcanic cinder cone (partly seen at left) located in the bony-white Tinajas Altas mountains at the southwest corner of Arizona. The ruddy light of the setting sun creates an amazing hue on the "screen" of the white rocks of the Tinajas Altas -- silhouetting in this view a palo verde tree. Painted from nature in camp in an alcove behind Raven Butte, incorporating soil from the region. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).469 -- Morning in camp, Tinajas Altas range, southwest Arizona. This view shows the bony-white color of the granites in the Tinajas Altas range, one of the basin-and-range ridges of southwest Arizona. I enjoy putting the daytime moon into my paintings, when appropriate, to reflect my work on lunar geology and the origin of the moon. Painted from nature. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

365 - Afternoon light in the Pinacate Volcanic Region, Sonora, Mexico391 - Daniels Wash in Spring, Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge, Southwest Arizona.
365 -- Afternoon light in the Pinacate Volcanic Region, Sonora, Mexico. This was painted after the Pinatubo volcano, in the Philippine Islands, had ejected massive amounts of volcanic ash into the stratosphere. Such material creates a bright nimbus around the sun, including faint colored haloes known as the "Bishop's Ring" phenomenon. The sun is offscreen at the top, but the halo effect is faintly shown. Painted from life near "Mayo Cone camp." (Copyright William K. Hartmann).391 -- Daniels Wash in Spring, Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge, Southwest Arizona. This is a classic scene along a Sonoran desert dry wash. Palo verde trees are coming into bloom with their splashes of yellow blossoms. Unlike foliage of northeast U.S. and Europe, the spidery desert vegetation does not assume massive shapes, and is difficult to paint. Painted from nature. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

  358 - Pinacate volcanic region, Sonora, Mexico  492 - Suset Glow on Mohawk Mts., SW Arizona.
 358 -- Pinacate volcanic region, Sonora, Mexico. This view was painted in the same area as the preceding view and shows some of the same effects. Here, I was experimenting with a different cropping of the scene. (Copyright William K. Hartmann). 492 -- Sunset Glow on Mohawk Mts., SW Arizona. This is a view looking east from the historic water tank, Tinajas Altas, at dusk as the sunlight light colors the white granite of the Mohawk Mts. Painted from nature during a camping trip. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).

390 - Sun and Saguaros 

390 -- Sun and Saguaros Painted from nature in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. (Copyright William K. Hartmann).



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