How to Experience a National Park from your Living Room

It has been proven over and over, and specifically by Cornell University psychologist, Dr. Thomas Gilovich, that money is best spent on experiences rather than things in the pursuit of happiness. That puts us crafts-people in a bind, since we are in the business of selling objects. However, I would argue that buying a painting is the closest thing someone can do to buying an experience.

On the dusty Maverick Road

On the dusty Maverick Road

Take my latest trip to TX as an example. I was fortunate enough to spend five whole days rambling on the dusty back roads of the least-visited National Park, Big Bend in Far West Texas. I painted with a group of accomplished artists, and the dry air, clear light, and unending pure vistas gave us a lot of inspiration. Each of us had a unique view of the landscape, and it was captured in the myriad field studies we produced.

Sunset over Santa Elena Canyon

Sunset over Santa Elena Canyon

If you look at my paintings from this trip, you can feel the heat. The dust and sense of openness are apparent. In fact, when I look at my own studies, I am transported right back to that spot. If I drove back into Big Bend, I would be able to show you exactly where I stood when I did that painting. I am forever connected to that specific place.


A Clear View of Mexico

It is that kind of magical connection that is transmitted through our paintings. Though you may not have been standing with me under the sun, you can still feel what I felt. You have an opportunity to share my experience.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Desert Garden

So, if your boss is stuck in the 2oth Century, and you don’t get unlimited vacation, consider buying some original art. It will transform you, and you can safely say that money can buy happiness.


Racho Vista

A small piece I am calling “Rancho Vista”

Sundown in Big Bend

Chisos Mountains at Sundown

Terlingua Store

Terlingua Store with the Bubble Gum Mountains in the background

The Rio

A crippling heat overhead as we painted the Rio Grande

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