Ruby Horsethief Canyon Run, Colorado River
The Ruby Horsethief Run is the stretch of the Colorado River that runs between Loma, Colorado and Westwater, Utah. I rafted this stretch in the summer of 2016. Four of us travelled together: two in an inflatable raft carry the tents and gear, and two in canoes.
Viewing these canyon walls, paled from red ochre to warm pink by the bright sun; honed to an elegant form by the afternoon wind that rises up each afternoon---as it has for centuries…you are transported back in time. It’s impossible not to wonder. To wonder about the many travelers who have drifted this stretch. And to be reminded, of the many great art forms inspired by rivers.
When I went to make these paintings, from photographs, sketches and memories…the empty red canoe kept reappearing. At first I assumed it came from my frustration with the figure, the depiction. And then I realized it had nothing to do with that and everything to do with who I was as I made these paintings.
I had lost my best friend, ex-spouse, long time husband and father of my children in April of 2016. It was sudden, unexpected. So many unanswered questions. It took months for the grief to really even begin for me, given the wall I had put up to survive the divorce, and my role as a parent watching my children struggle with their grief. Being immersed in such a beautiful place, so unexpectedly, there was no stopping the grief.
He loved rivers.
Painting my way through the grief was a great gift. And I am grateful for the supportive friend who convinced me to take this trip even though I had only set foot in a raft once prior. That too, was part of my grief process: tackle something scary every day.