Seven Falls Creek

The artist's life can really grind you down, but sometimes there's nothing better. When Lars's older cousin, Kyle, came by the house one day, I asked him if he'd take a turn at generating a random GPS point for me. He ran the numbers, and the coordinates pinpointed a spot along a canyon in the lower reaches of the Catalina Mountains. By odd coincidence, the GPS point was located near a hiking trail - and not just any hiking trail, but the Seven Falls Trail, a hike that had recently been recommended to me by three different people. For some reason I hadn't been interested, but suddenly it was an assignment.

"I've been there," said Kyle, "I think you'll like it." That proved to be a serious understatement.

The trail follows a sparkling creek for 2 or 3 miles, through a steep-walled desert landscape, to a series of small waterfalls that cut a dramatic, deep notch through a massive formation of striped granite. I ended up devoting several hours to vital creative research - mainly hiking and testing out various swimming holes. During that time I met some friendly hikers, saw some nice rocks and flowers, even sketched a little - but mostly lost myself in the harmonious interplay of geology, hydrology, and sunshine.

This painting shows a section of the creek, the water brown with tannin, willows growing along the banks. The boulder in the left foreground is about 10-12 feet high, for scale. The actual GPS point was about 100 yards away, up a cliff.