The old cottonwood at Quitobaquito Springs in 1976
We stayed several days at Organ Pipe NM in the spring of 1976. Fascinating biota all around us—we loved seeing the low desert in spring. Here’s an excerpt from The Road to Beaver Park, Painting, Perception, and Pilgrimage (p. 104):
“Amy’s Diary: We went to Quitobaquito Springs. When we got there we walked around the pond. Mom and I saw a phainopepla with a crest on its head. It was black. There also was a big cottonwood leaning over the water. Nate and I climbed all over it. While we were on the tree there were softshell turtles below us, wild ones. In a little while we ate lunch and Mom and I saw an oriole. Then after all we stepped under the fence into Mexico.”
I carried my sketchbook everywhere, and listened to bird song across the pond as I rendered the old cottonwood. I experimented all the time with media. This day I was trying pastels. My technic was very elementary, but pastels flow easily onto the paper. However, they don’t travel well, which is a requirement. Constant motion smears colors even though I protected the pages. Before long I gave them up. They were fun to experiment with but were not quite my style.
Have you ever been to Organ Pipe NM? https://www.nps.gov/orpi/index.htm The low desert is fascinating. Go during the cool weather months, perhaps earlier than you suspect. We were there in early April which was about right that year to catch blooming cactus and before weather got too hot. Always check weather, road conditions, and campgrounds ahead of time. In the desert, always carry water and fill up the gas tank before you head that way.
Good Reading: The Road to Beaver Park, Painting, Perception, and Pilgrimage by Janice E. Kirk