Moving to the Phoenix basin I received the Call to Southwest Art. I went from painting the Rockies of Colorado to the dry, rocky desert which was a radical change for me. Finding that my expectations were way off base, the discovery of a new land has taken over my heart. I began to see the desert in a far different light! First of all the number of birds that pass through Arizona is astonishing. The Prairie Falcon seen below was sitting on an old stump outside of Tucson. I loved this picture so much I did a painting (see below) called “Hawk Eye” 16 by 16 on board in oils. I’ve spent many hours at the Gilbert Riparian Water Park and Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ. taking pictures and doing plein air work (painting outdoors.) Working at Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden had some benefits that were far above what I expected: Because I spent time there after hours, I was the only one in the Park and the animals and birds took over. I saw rabbits, rats, squirrels and many, many lizards. The air was full of butterflies, the trees full of birds. Audubon Society designated Boyce Thompson as a “Important Bird Area.” Visit the Gilbert website : http://www.gilbertaz.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/parks/riparian-preserve-at-water-ranch Southwest art encompasses the beautiful mountain communities in areas like Sedona, Payson, and Flagstaff. Although there are not rugged granite peaks the sculpture of wind and water works on the sandstone in amazing ways. The desert lives to a different rhythm and life is very much on the edge in many communities. Lately the basin has seen much more humidity and rain so the cactus expand, the ground explodes with seeds that have waited years for the water.