Stephen C. Datz, “Wild and Scenic,” oil on canvas board, 30 x 60 in. (36 x 66 in. framed), $15,500

Visit Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery (Tucson) for a show and sale of new paintings by Stephen C. Datz. Opening reception with the artist is Friday, January 17, 5 to 7 p.m. Show ends February 7, 2020.

Stephen C. Datz, “Convergence,” oil on canvas board, 48 x 48 in. (54.25 x 54.25 in. framed), $18,500

Artist Comments: This piece [“Convergence”] is a view of Monument Canyon, and Independence Rock at its center, in Colorado National Monument, as seen from the Grand Valley along the Colorado River. The time is evening, late October, when the cottonwoods and scrub along the river begin their autumnal transformation and the whole area comes alive with color.

In the sky, the new crescent moon, dark side faintly illuminated by earthshine, is accompanied by Saturn on her left, and Jupiter on her right. Pluto’s in there too, just to the left of Saturn, but it is not visible to the naked eye (devilishly hard to paint, but I think I managed it). It’s one of the most exceptionally peaceful and pleasant fall evenings I’ve ever experienced.

The title has several meanings — literal, astronomical, and above all metaphorical. 2019 proved to be a year of convergences for me and my family, not all of which were pleasant or welcome. Nights like this, with their fleeting bursts of color and arrangements of seemingly ageless (at least to us) earthly and celestial wonders, serve as a reminder to treasure the days we have, for we know not their number, and those, now absent, with whom we have been fortunate to share them.

Stephen C. Datz, “High Desert Winter,” oil on canvas board, 30 x 60 in. (36 x 66 in. framed), $15,500

Roan Plateau in western Colorado
Artist Comments: It can be truly said that some of my most favorite things in all the world are junipers, sagebrush, and desert rocks with a generous helping of snow. I never tire of painting these simple things in their seemingly infinite and often surprising variety. This view is the southwest escarpment of the Roan Plateau in western Colorado, just a few miles east of DeBeque. Like the Bookcliffs closer to Grand Junction, the “erosional morphology” of the Roan Plateau makes for a fascinating subject, especially on days such as this when the snow highlights the vertical faces of the cliffs, producing gorgeous blue shadows and bouncing light into and around all the little canyons and crevices there.

It’s kind of amazing to think that this landscape, which owes its shape and character to water’s work, sees so little of it each year.

Stephen C. Datz, “Shadows in Light, Shadows in Time,” oil on canvas board, 36 x 72 in. (43 x 79.5 in framed), $22,500

Artist Comments: “Shadows in Light, Shadows in Time” has been waiting its turn for five years. I originally saw this view on a November trip to Moab with my wife. The cold months are the only time one can visit Moab and expect anything approaching peace, quiet, and solitude.

We had driven up to Dead Horse Point and stopped on our way back down in the afternoon to admire this vista. The desert geology here is fascinating, and the two buttes, Merrimac and Monitor (for some strange reason they were named after Civil War–era naval vessels) are chunks of Entrada Sandstone. The substrate on which they stand is comprised of much lighter Navajo Sandstone.

The cloud shadows and the isolated remnants of Entrada, which are all that remain of what was once an even layer, sparked the thought that the buttes were “shadows in time,” as it were. And voila, a title is born.

“Canyons, Buttes, and Beyond” is on view at Medicine Man Gallery (Tucson, AZ) January 17 through February 7, 2020. Details:

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