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Janet's 2006 Death Valley Paintings
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& 2009
Artwork by Janet Morgan

Artists-in-residence in Death Valley National Park 
2005, 2006 and 2008

"These are beautiful works evocative of the great beauty of our land." 
          -  Ken Burns, director  of The National Parks, America's Best Idea

Janet's Death Valley Children's Book!


Panamint Butte

Death Valley
2008 & 2009

Paintings from Janet Morgan's 
Third Residency 
Death Valley National Park

and from a trip teaching 
Geology students 
from Brooklyn College
during their field study
in January 2009


At Eureka Dunes, the Last Chance Mountains


Furnace Creek Sunset

Across Saline Valley


Saline Valley from McElvoy Canyon Fan


Looking Out Of Cottonwood Canyon


Above Kit Fox Hills (Looking Out of Cottonwood Canyon)


Cottonwood Canyon Wall

Looking Up Cottonwood Canyon

    Corkscrew Peak

In January of 2009 the artist Gregory Frux and I taught drawing in Death Valley 
to Brooklyn College Geology students during their field study. I did these on a day off. 



Triangles on The Panamint Mountains


Janet got to teach a watercolor class to 40 4th Graders in the Program 
Death Valley Rocks.
Sales of the Death Valley Art Cards benefit this great program to bring 
Los Angeles school children into Death Valley National Park.

Here is Janet's watercolor inside Golden Canyon, 
just the right time of day for comfortable temperatures, 
shade and good colors. 
We had a really enthusiastic students for both classes.

Making Art in Death Valley

Making art in Death Valley is a joyous experience. There is so much to paint - vast skies and ranges of mountains, rock forms to delight the artist and the geologist, flowers of every shape and color from and eighth of an inch to six inches across. Every mineral color can be found on the canyons walls, in the valleys waters of blue and green reflect sky and salt, and everywhere the noisy ravens are the most delicious black. 
I had a vision while traveling through the Mojave a few years before of painting on a large canvas in the middle of a vast desert valley, ringed by mountains, grand distances in all directions. I did it in Death Valley, my canvas protected from the bed of salt by a thick tarp.  Standing on the canvas I painted what I saw in all directions, two mountain ranges, snow on top of Telescope Peak, huge alluvial fans reaching toward me, red earth, green water, white salt, purple hills, bronze hills, blue sky. There is an exhilaration in the rush of painting before the light changes, or before it is too hot to be in the sun, or it is your only chance to catch clouds trying to push themselves over the peaks in the early dawn light. 
In Death Valley so much of this tough beauty is close to the road, relatively easy to get to, and except for midday, it is possible to find in many places nooks of shade to paint in. And just when you think you are done for the day, the sky cooks up some storm clouds at sunset and you rush out with your watercolors and work as fast as you can, occasionally helped by some rain drops falling on your paper. 
I was glad I had painted in deserts before, glad I had learned some vocabulary of slot canyons, rock strata, drifted sand and changing light on stone.  It is almost insane to try to paint such a place as Death Valley, but we hope to capture some essences, some tastes of the vast constantly changing beauty, from the salt flats 282 feet below sea level to the highest peaks at 11,000.  Where the eye can see 80 miles easily, where a curve in the road reveals huge flat valleys and more mountains beyond, looking hot and dry but with hidden oasis of trees and water.  In Death Valley you understand more everyday why the ranger staff is so passionate and dedicated, and why visitors from all over the world come back again and again.

Janet Morgan

Back to Sacred Landscape

Janet's 2006 Death Valley Paintings
Article on California Desert
Janet's Death Valley Children's Book
Art and
Janet's Homepage
Janet's email