The Arizona Desert

Arizona Desert North ScottsdaleDuring summer breaks from art school, I often visited my mom who lived in Scottsdale, Arizona. While there, my favorite activity (outside of eating Mexican food) was sketching the desert landscape on the north end of town.

To avoid the mid-day heat, my mom and I left the house before dawn, drove to Dynamite Boulevard, and then located dirt roads that would take us even further into the desert. With folding chairs and plenty of drinking water, we planted ourselves in a comfy spot, and as I drew, we would talk away the morning.

After sitting still for a time, lizards, roadrunners, and other critters would scurry past us, though we kept a sharp eye for the occasional snake or scorpion. Daytime temperatures often soared past 110°F (43°C), leaving precious few hours in which to draw before retreating to air conditioning. The afternoon heat gave way to lightning storms that drenched the desert floor with rain and left the familiar but unique desert smell of dirt, Creosote bushes, and other flora.

I’m not the only one who appreciates this part of the Arizona desert: Frank Lloyd Wright built his home and studio, Taliesin West only a few miles to the south from where this was drawn.

Sketched in pencil on a Grumbacher Omni sketchbook with natural tone pages.