2020 Monuments and Canyons Plein Air Invitational
Plein Air 2020 is here! On October 2nd, 167 paintings were submitted for this year’s virtual art event, and it is already off to a successful start! “Plein air” painting is a French term used for artists who would paint “in the open air.” It is a special opportunity for you to view and even purchase some incredible artwork showing the lands we all love.
Early viewers of the large breadth of work have been astounded by the variety and beauty of the art created by some of the nation’s top Plein Air painters.
In years past this event invites 25-30 artists that paint in the outdoors who are locally, regionally, and nationally known. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show will be 100% online.
This brand new format will allow artists to include both Plein Air works as well as works created in the studio. The exhibition will be a virtual gallery with all of our wonderful artists displaying 6 pieces each on the CNMA website. The event is now live and lasts until December 20th.
Our hope coming out of this atypical year is that we can provide an online exhibit in conjunction with the physical show for the future of this wonderful event.
Proceeds from the online exhibit and sale will again benefit the educational programs of Colorado National Monument and the Colorado Canyons Association. All pieces purchased online will be shipped to you directly from the artists.
We hope that you all will join us again in seeing the beautiful works of art inspired by Colorado National Monument and the BLM McInnis Canyons and Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas, all from the convenience of your own home.
Resident Raptors Soar Over Monument
“To see those falcons up close and personal like we did was for me almost a religious experience. I’m pretty sure I will never again be 20 feet from a wild falcon. I could have watched them for days on end, but I sensed we were intruding so I got my pictures and got out. It’s something I will never forget.”
By Don Simonton
First published in the CNMA Newsletter, Summer 1998
Just a year ago, Independence Monument, the best- known spire in Colorado National Monument, was declared off-limits because a pair of romantic, endangered peregrine falcons decided to raise a family on one of its few ledges. So what happened? Where are they today? How’s our local raptor population doing?
Well, the birds haven’t returned yet this year, but thanks to the consideration and cooperation of the rock-climbers, four chicks were fledged last summer. Only 25 percent of the young peregrines survive predation by larger birds, but that’s a vast improvement from the days when DDT just about wiped out the entire species. Park Ranger Patrick Perrotti, resource manager for the Monument, smiles broadly when he reports that about half of our falcons appear to return each summer, and he hopes that we’ll have three aeries somewhere in our canyons in 1998.
Hikers looking for nesting peregrines will probably hear them before spotting them. Their courtship includes characteristic wailing and chittering, along with acrobatic flights and prey exchanges. Once eggs are laid on the bare rock of a shallow niche, things quiet down, and the male diligently delivers food to the nesting female. Park officials appreciate reports of sightings, but warns Ranger Perrotti, it’s important not to crowd the parents: they’ve been known to abandon nests if bothered by humans.
An interesting sidelight: Originally banded near Mesa Verde in 1991, the matriarch of the 1996 Monument Canyon aerie was found near Fruita this spring with a broken wing. She’s now in the care of a licensed raptor rehabilitator and is hopefully on the way to full healing and release.
Peregrines aren’t the only birds of prey in the Monument. Most obvious are the Golden Eagles, but there are plenty of others, ranging from small kestrels, through goshawks and Cooper’s hawks, to the soaring red-tails. The owl family represented by great horneds, pygmies, saw-wheats, western screeches, long-eared and burrowing owls. Perrotti notes the best birding is found on the east side of the Monument, near the mouth of No Thoroughfare Canyon.