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Negro Bill Canyon

Negro Bill Canyon

Friends -
Some of you may have noticed that I have not sent new art photos for some time.... Well, becoming a grandma (Leonardo Francisco Ayala) in December, and taking refuge in Moab in January are the reasons for this. However, I did get a chance to work on a few things while in Moab, and am finishing them up this week. I will say this about southeast Utah.... if you like to be out in the wilderness, enjoy geological miracles, appreciate solitude and historical mystery, you might like it near Moab. It is not a place for everybody, but it definitely served my purpose of resting the mind during my first month in retirement. Bob and I basically took a major hike every other day, until the last week when I caught a cold. I also feathered my art studio nest a bit, as Bob built one for me there. This art studio is where I began (and almost finished) this drawing of Negro Bill Canyon. Negro Bill was one of the first hikes that we took during week 2.

Negro Bill stream flows directly into the main channel of the Colorado River within Moab, and since it is the property of Bureau of Land Management, the canyon is open to the public. Apparently it is becoming quite popular, but in January it was empty. Thus, we were able to enjoy the frozen, calm beauty of this place all by ourselves. It is a lovely hike that follows the stream for 2-3 miles, with a fair amount of up-and-down, terminating at the head with a great view of Morning Glory Arch. What astonished me was the loud sound of a waterfall as we approached the head of the canyon, but there was no water in sight (other than the stream flowing by). It took getting closer to see that the water sound was coming from a small waterfall behind the rock wall of the canyon. We could see a bit of it thanks to a crack in the wall, but it did not seem to match the loud waterfall sound. Clearly, there was an echo effect as well, and the whole effect on us was magical.

In acknowledgement of the politically incorrect designation, the Canyon was named after William Granstaff, a cowboy of mixed race who ran cattle in the desert canyon with a Canadian trapper named 'Frenchie'. He lost out on his holdings in 1881 when he fled after being charged with bootlegging whiskey to the Indians. It was a rough place back then, and nothing much has changed.

This drawing was done on pastel paper with some hard pastels, colored pencil, graphite and a tiny bit of water color in a couple of locations that remain a secret (for now). I have some great photos of this canyon, in addition to this drawing. This particular view is of a spot near the beginning of the trail. Let me know if you are interested in seeing some of those photos and I will send you a few.

I may sell the original, and certainly can sell prints, for your donation to a good cause such as Doctor's Without Borders...

Thank you for being patient with my relatively low productivity.

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