The Vibrant Life


Picket Post single track#7- Tuesday May 3rd

This week has mostly been about riding bikes! It started off with my taking Rebecca out for a tour of some local mountain bike trails . . . first to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, where we rode from the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, over to the Gateway Loop and Windgate and Bell Passes. The next day we went and rode a section of the Arizona Trail at Picket Post Mountain, near Superior Arizona. Both rides have just an awesome selection of single-track, with a plenty of up, and fast twisting descents, perfect final preparation for our weekend trip up to Prescott, to race in the Whiskey Mountain Bike Race.

gila monster on the trailBesides the great riding, I was pleasantly surprised at how may plants were still in bloom, especially around Picket Post Mountain. Not only has it been a bit warmer than normal, it was a fairly dry spring, so not the usual explosion of wild flowers. But Picket Post being at a higher elevation than the valley, making it a cooler and slightly wetter environment, was still bursting in color. Desert Thistle, Emory Globe Mallow, Engelmann Prickly Pear Cactus, California Poppies, and Ocotillo were all in bloom . . .  as an added bonus, I found a Gila Monster meandering across the trail just in front of me!  By the time I got off my bike and retrieved my camera from my pack, he’d gotten up into the trail high-side vegetation, so not the best photograph, but these guys are really good at staying hidden, so a treat to see one out in the open.

thistle and prickly pear flowersBack in the studio, the shapes, forms, and lines, ( and their movements and interactions ) experienced during my foray’s into the out-of-doors are often incorporated into my work . . . and my pallet is no different. The hues of the desert flora find their way into my paintings, infusing them with the vitality of the natural world at its most vibrant.  One of the new paintings, featured in recent posts, with  Desert Thistle and  Engelmann prickly pear blooms, photographed during my ride at Picket Post Mountain.
The race? . . . good hard fun . . . I raced the 25 mile event, masters class, and finished in 3 hours and 38 minutes, placing me in the upper quarter of participants . . . an effort well rewarded with a nice cold brew (and what’s not to like about that! ).
Thanks for reading.
Charles

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