Editor. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time.
Fitz Maurice reports on wildlife and art as she paints in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park
It’s hot out there! Everyone and everything is driven to the river! The Colorado River runs through the Moab area and, fortunately, through Canyonlands National Park.
There I was rushing to the river for a cool dip in that emerald green – when I spied Big Horn Sheep on the bluff across the river. I was told that it was very rare to ever see Big Horn Sheep let alone get a photo opportunity. Grabbing my camera I zoomed in and caught this photograph. Okay, these two don’t look so big in the horn – they are young, and therefore more willing to brave being sighted… Besides, it’s hotter than hell!
Bighorn sheep are native to Utah. They were well known to the prehistoric inhabitants of the Utah area and are depicted in petroglyphs more than any other form of wildlife. They are named for their massive horns: both males and females have horns, which continue to grow throughout their lives. Male’s horns can weigh up to 30 pounds – sounds like a headache to me! October to December is breeding season, and this is when the mature males put on an impressive show of head butting.
Petroglyph of Utah’s Big Horn Sheep
Petroglyphs and pictographs are a great attraction in both Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. The difference between these two is that petroglyphs are pictures that have been created by chipping away at the dark canyon wall surface that naturally forms on the red sandstone to reveal the lighter sandstone underneath, whereas a pictograph is created by painting with pigments made from powdered minerals. This “rock art” is ancient and is often telling a story about a hunt or remarkable event. I guess I would have been a “Rock Artist” in ancient times!
Right now I am working on finishing my oil painting of Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Although this National Park is often overshadowed by its neighbor, Arches National Park, I have found it to be fabulous and full of raw and rare treasures.
Go to your National Parks! Get outside and play! Bring your camera and set out to capture big game photos. It’s so thrilling to make discoveries, learn history, study geology and get to know more about wildlife.
FITZ Maurice has been on a quest to paint ‘live’ in every National Park in America. Now totally committed to help promote and protect the Parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer to each park. Hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene, and finally setting up with portable easel and oil paints, FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each National Park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world.To see her National Park Paintings: www.nationalparkpaintings.com