August 17, 2015

Painting and Drawing at City of Rocks, a New Mexico State Park

One of my favorite places to hike and just have fun is the New Mexico State Park, City of Rocks. My husband and I enjoy hiking the rocks. There are picnic tables in nooks around the park which provide a good amount of privacy and all have views worthy of painting. 

The photographs above were taken in 2002 during our first visit to the Silver City area. You can see the scale of the rocks from this photo. Our daughter Leela was in her last year of High School. She is now a professional 3D environmental Artist. She is reading in the photo and I am painting. I have some links more to blog pages about Leela's art and career at the end of this post.

I like to hike up with a sketch book to paint the small stunted trees among the cliffs which I like to call by their Oriental name, Bonsai trees. 

Bonsai Tree in Rocks:
Watercolor and Ink 5"x7" 

There is camping in the park some with electric and water and more sites around the park without. The park has clean bathrooms, showers and a visitor center.

We hiked a new trail in City of Rocks this spring to Table Mountain but it was too hot for us to climb it. I get low blood sugar so we brought water and chocolate in a belly pack but unfortunately the chocolate was melted so we sucked it off the metal wrapper and got it all over our faces and laughed the whole time. It may have been the best chocolate I have ever had!

Watercolor sketch of Table Mountain 4"x6"

Watercolor sketch of Table Mountain 4"x6"

View from one picnic site on the east side, beautiful
cooling rain clouds all this summer.
Clouds In View: Pastel, charcoal and chalk
on toned paper. 6"x8.5

Above is Cook's Peak seen from the same picnic area as the two views of Table Mountain
Cooks Peak: Watercolor 4'x6'

Cook's Peak: 10.5x14 Oil on Linen Canvas

I painted the above view in 2002 when we first came to the Silver City area and we decided this is where we would relocate from Florida. 

I painted the view below this spring on the west side of the park as the sun was going down and reflecting on the rock walls.

Sunset View: Oil on board 10"x7"

Balancing Rock #2: Pastel, Charcoal and Chalk 6x8.5

Drawing the balancing rock while staying out of the wind.

Balancing Rock 9"x12" Oil on Birch Board

Above is a different Balancing Rock painted in 2013.

Virga Rain at City of Rocks
Oil on Linen Canvas 10.5x14
Above is a view from the west side of the "city", painted in 2002.

We have been blessed with rain just about every day this summer and I am working on a number of paintings in my studio most of the time instead of plein air painting. The Mimbres River is filled and when we visited Las Cruces I was happy to see the Rio Grande filled with water too, as it should be.

We are planning to travel as soon as the weather cools down to camp out in more of the State Parks in New Mexico so I can spend a good amount of time uninterrupted at the parks painting en plein air. I plan update my blogs to include information on this endeavor with suggestions and insights on painting in the State Parks of New Mexico. 

You can see more information on the New Mexico State Parks at:

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