I don’t know the story behind the photo reference I used for this water color sketch but it seems to capture something that goes beyond animal captivity… finding peace with what enslaves.
At the beginning of August I began painting a blank cube in a somewhat remote location called Sky Camp in Joshua Tree, CA. Sky Camp is a private campground run by Kimberly and Gary Bowers and they asked me to contribute to their 3rd mural project on site.
This photo below is the road to Sky Camp is a dusty trek on the lonely side of the Bartlett Mountain Range. You can see a water tank and road on the left side of this photo, that’s the road to the site.
I just put the final touches of paint on this cube this week, spending many hours up there accompanied mostly by my trusty watchdog, Dusty. After a couple weeks I started to really appreciate taking the time to “unplug” from the computer screen and go up and paint up there on the ledge of Sky Camp, isolated from civilization. The weather and atmosphere, were contributing factors, August and Sept were very hot, I could’nt really go up there until after 5pm and it was still scorching. Nonetheless, I found myself looking forward to getting out and up there.
The cube is positioned in alignment with the four directions. Here you can see the view North.
I wanted to paint concepts that complimented the desert vista, so I chose to use, the Sun and Sky on the SE and SW sides.
For the NE and NW sides, Space and Volcanic fields.
Here you can see the top side, it functions as a marker for the direction as well as a medicine wheel for those who may wish to set their intentions to the four directions. In the middle you will find a cosmic spiral, similar to a swastika, I know this symbol is very taboo these days, but it was used by native peoples across the globe well before WWII.
Thanks to Kimberly and Gary for inviting me to add something colorful to the scenery at Sky Camp.
More About Sky Camp, Joshua Tree
Sky Camp is only a few miles from Joshua Tree National Park and boasts broad sweeping vistas, incredible sunsets and sunrises, abundant wildlife and dark night skies. Enjoy amenities such as an outdoor shower, flushing toilet, picnic tables, large barrel charcoal grill, wood burning stove, art installations, and more. Sky Camp is surrounded by open space and situated next to BLM land, making it a perfect playground for outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, bouldering, mountain biking, bird watching, star-gazing, and more. Explore the possibilities! More info here.
Mural painting created during the Joshua Tree Music Festival (May 12-15, 2016). This piece is inspired by the sages, hermits, monks, wizards and weekend warriors, throughout history who have made the journey to pray, meditate, contemplate and appreciate the wisdom of the desert. Many thanks to Barnett English for giving me the opportunity and space to create at this spring’s festival!
(Click image to view larger.)