Excursion: Molino Basin

We begin with a talk on light because that’s what plein air is all about.  The sun is coming and going on this unusual semi-cloudy morning so we have to work to catch it. See highlight, half light and cast shadow…simple enough? Ha! not.

We become features of the landscape itself…find the plein airista…

Sometimes it is difficult to put on just one hat on an excursion because there are so many things to observe…birds….

Eventually a decision is made and one can proceed.


This area is characterized by extraordinary old oaks with tiny acorns.

Cora’s palette, a primary triad mixed to create secondaries, seen in this study: Carmine, Nickle Azo and Ultramarine.

Margret’s tripod and paintbox is ideal but takes time to set up.

Flashy, scoured, slippery, super hard rock….amazing! It is dry now but with winter rains and summer monsoon water cascades down the canyon. Will keep you posted on a “water event”.

Critters are out but slow in the cooler temps. (thank you)

Peggy finds a great spot with a fab. view. Her set up allows her to sit comfortably. The three legged stool with back support is a hit.

The super hard rock of the creek walls has the luminosity of…..transparent bone.

And now, right up the road, our afternoon location, in the basin.

Edy looks up into the distance.


Lynn takes on the monumental task of creek-bed tumble.

Late afternoon light shimmers in the shiny golden grasses.

Cora does a thorough job with viewer, thumbnails, color swatching and finally developing a composition.


Everything is glowing in the afternoon light, if you are fast you can catch it! Here it is 4:30 p.m. November, 2. Try working 4-5 p.m. for a “bootcamp” type capturing nature’s light session…it will really force you out of your “comfort zone”-in the best way.

I’m attracted to the dappled light on this boulder and old oak growth.  I map the light, choose a secondary triad in pastel, and develop.  Oak bark is wonderful. It glows!


I think working with/looking at this golden light is uplifting…that’s my feel good take-away with this piece.

Our final feedback discussion for the day.

Peggy and Margret’s studies.

Many thanks to the Molino Basin group. We had a really good time, welcomed challenges and made serious progress. Now, keep it going!

Looking forward to our next excursion in 2 weeks in Saguaro West.  See you there!

….and Pepe and little Chanchito wish you much luck in these perfect plein air times.

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