Plein Air Painting Trip through Zion National Park, Utah

Plein air painting in Maynard Dixon country. The famous Western Artist lived in Mount Carmel, where we stayed during our visit to Zion National Park.

THE most spectacular way to enter Zion N.P. is from the East - from Mount Carmel and through the one mile long tunnel (built in 1930s - it's one lane and you have to wait at the entrance until it is your turn to traverse the tunnel.

Emerging from that dark tunnel into the brilliant light and full-on splendor of Zion is too amazing for words, but I'll do my best!

The immense display of geology - the tallest sandstone cliffs in the world, - all in reds, pinks and cream with patterns and layers of rock - nature's artistry on extreme display.

No hoodoos here but a quite different point of view than at Bryce. At Zion you look up, up and up as you travel at the bottom of the canyon along the green banks of the Virgin River. Vast cliffs of magenta, pink and rust colored sandstone tower above.

During the Summer season you have to leave your vehicle at the Zion N.P. Visitors Center - then take a shuttle bus (one leaves every 10 minutes) to various stops throughout the park.

I got off the shuttle bus first at the Court of the Patriarchs - a grouping of massive pillars of sculpted sandstone. I did my first Zion plein air painting there. Zion is the perfect place to practice blocking in the massive shapes presented and trying not to be overwhelmed by the immense scale of everything.

The result of 2 hours at the Court of the Patriarchs is shown above.

Landscape Painting near Zion Lodge, Zion N.P., Utah

This is my second plein air painting of the day I spent in Zion National Park, Utah. I stopped at the Zion Lodge in the middle of the park.

It was midday and hot. I painted along the bank of the Virgin River until 1.30. My brains were frying by then. I went and got an iced coffee and ice cream at the Lodge. Wonderful. I took my goodies and lay down on the green cool lawn in the shade of a cottonwood tree. I Looked up at the red cliffs and enjoyed the feeling of the cool damp grass on my back. Watched the clouds up in the peaks through the leaves and branches of the trees.

Feeling much refreshed I pressed on - jumped back on the Shuttle and rode it all the way to the end of Zion Canyon to the Temple of Sinawava.

I hiked the river side trail and found a fabulous spot in the shade of the canyon near the river. Here is the painting I did.

The canyon wall colors were reflected in the river water. The tamarisk trees sprouting green next to all that red rock lured little birds to rest in their cool branches. A lovely tranquil spot with river water gurgling as a soothing background song.

All the travel and time to get here was totally worth it! I love this plein air painting thing. Bryce Canyon N,P, and other Utah Locations
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