Plein Air: Kitt Peak

This Spring we begin scouting for Summer Plein Air locations. A close hour drive west of Tuscon on the way to Ajo is the Baboquivari Range where Kitt Peak, an international observatory, is located. The road up provides easy access.


The visitors center is ripe with cosmological and astro physical information, some quite useful to the painter concerned with light.


The painter in infrared.


Back outside, we find a picnic area surrounded by telescopes. This radio telescope is remotely operated from, perhaps, New Mexico…I think it would make a cool painting, but would take some time to get right. (plus it’s moving all the time, scanning, wow, fun!)


I go for a colorful oak instead of the technical telescope today.


Limited palette with split complement: Yellow-Orange (keyed from the oaks leaves), Violet and Blue.

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Access is limited to daytime but there are pull outs and picnic areas near the top and vistas on the way up. This is a formidable mountain/sky island, with sheer granite, steep  inclines, varied flora and spectacular vast views in all directions, windy and inclement, an adventurous landscape-like we like.


Our next trip up is less moody weather wise, but still windy. We start at the top picnic area again and work our way down the mountain.


I enjoy exploring at the same subject over and over again.

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At 4 P.M. the guard comes to usher us out, and down, the mountain.


We manage to pull out at a hairpin turn, sheltered from the wind, to complete one more study.


Valerie goes for large format.



I’m looking forward to more studies and extended projects up here this Summer. Let’s go!


One thought on “Plein Air: Kitt Peak

  1. I’d love to join some time. But we’ll be gone until middle of July. I”ll keep my eye open for dates.


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