Sunday, January 22, 2012


22x26 oil/linen panel

Last post for a bit, as I have an out of town trip, and then some shoulder surgery, so I won't be painting for several weeks. (gasp, I can't imagine going that long!)

This depicts an actual cliff dwelling ruin in the Gila Mountains of SW New Mexico.. this particular one is Cave #4 I believe... I drew together several historical photos of the ruins from the 30's or 40's, and used some other references to hopefully accurately depict these frontiersmen's dress and gear... In 1878, Henry B. Ailman and his party went searching for gold in the Gila Mountains.  While traveling through the canyons, they "discovered" the Gila cliff dwellings. Here I've depicted them riding up to take a look at this mighty curious sight.  Some historical accounts say they were trying to avoid jury duty in Albuquerque and so left town on this gold mining expedition... They struck gold alright, though not the kind they had imagined
These ruins are now part of a national park -

Here's an old photo of the ruins, as these two guys might have seen them from across the canyon... the ruin on  the far left of this photo is the one I have painted.  And  yes, horses were able to get up there, as I have some old photos showing the Rangers on horseback working to restore some of the ruins and build some paths....