LOWELL and BISBEE

Bisbee is a copper mining town that has, some how,  flourished since the mine closed. The steep landscape and opulent architecture, from the boom days, make the town uniquely attractive. Lots of interesting pubs, bars and restaurants, and an atmosphere of 1960’s counter culture, have given Bisbee a whole new life.

Just outside of Bisbee is, what’s left of, the town of Lowell. In the 1950’s the mine pit was expanded to extract more copper and most of the town was consumed in the expansion. What is left (Eire Street) appears to have been frozen in time. Crumbling buildings, closed businesses, old cars, weeds and debris. A fantastic and confusing place.

© John Lovett 2018
Reflections in a junk shop window

© John Lovett 2018
Bisbee graffiti wall

© John Lovett 2018
Chainsaw on a roof

© John Lovett 2018
Rustys Snacks

© John Lovett 2018
Main Street Bisbee

© John Lovett 2018
Captivating display of ancient dentistry.

© John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018
Bisbee mine  head

© John Lovett 2018
Mine Site

© John Lovett 2018
Shell servo, Lowell

© John Lovett 2018
Cadillac from space

© John Lovett 2018
Outside Lowell Gym.

© John Lovett 2018
Welcome

© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018

© John Lovett 2018© John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018 © John Lovett 2018

ON TO TOMBSTONE

After the workshop at Tanque Verde Ranch, we picked up a hire car in Tucson and headed over to Tombstone. The old town is still pretty well intact, but relies heavily on tourism, so has a bit of a theme park air about it. Lots of cowboys, bar girls and guns, but the old historic locations are all well preserved and very interesting.

From Tombstone we drove out to a few old ghost towns and abandoned mining towns in the region. We discovered some great old buildings in various stages of decay.

© John Lovett 2018
Rain across the prairies between Tucson and Tombstone

© John Lovett 2018
Main street Tombstone

© John Lovett 2018

Cowboys on the boardwalk

© John Lovett 2018
Stage coach into town

© John Lovett 2018
Stage coach out of town.

© John Lovett 2018
Some local beer and wine in the Crystal Palace, followed by a mighty meal and a band that didn’t play cowboy songs – well not many anyway!

© John Lovett 2018
Beautiful old Hotel on mainstreet.

© John Lovett 2018
Well preserved backstreet cottage.

© John Lovett 2018
Not so well preserved facade from more recent times.

© John Lovett 2018
Slowly crumbling cottage in the old mining town of Gleeson.

© John Lovett 2018One of the last surviving cottages in Gleeson.

© John Lovett 2018
Once a thriving business – now part of Gleeson’s collection of decaying buildings.

© John Lovett 2018
Remains of the old Gleeson Jail – no wardens, no prisoners but plenty of patriotic flags.

© John Lovett 2018Well preserved store in the old town of Pearce

© John Lovett 2018

More – of I don’t know what?

TANQUE VERDE RANCH

Just outside Tucson, Arizona, is the Sonoran Desert. Tanque Verde Ranch is situated in the desert and joins the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The ranch was our venue for an enjoyable 5 day painting workshop organised by MISA.

Tanque Verde Ranch was a large cattle property in the early days, but now runs around 200 horses for visitors to explore the many desert riding trails.


Old, now abandoned, homestead.


Original Homestead


One of the ranches horse wranglers


Desert riders – heading for the blueberry pancake breakfast overlooking the mountains


Desert Bunny


Wagon from the wild wild west


Cowboy singer at a dinner under the cottonwoods – only sang cowboy songs.

Javelinas.


Wrangler with his horse


Outside the wranglers Quarters.


Horse yards


I love these American cowboy saddles.


Used horseshoes


Black and White, Red and Brown

Big old French Percheron


Wranglers Ropes


Tired and dusty


Desert Bathtub


Across the desert to the mountains

Saguaro Cactus

© John Lovett 2018
Sticks from the dead Saguaro cactus used for building.

© John Lovett 2018
Cactus Flower

© John Lovett 2018
Humming Bird

© John Lovett 2018Desert House Finch

© John Lovett 2018
Gambel’s Quail

© John Lovett 2018
Happy Horses

© John Lovett 2018
Tanque Verde Ranch accomodation

TRAVELING WITH WATERCOLOR

NEW ARTICLE

One of the great pleasures of traveling is documenting the things we encounter. Not only do we accumulate a collection of paintings and sketches that become lasting memories of where we have been and what we have seen, but we also tend to observe much more by stopping and painting.

Check out the Article – 10 Tips I have found useful when traveling and painting.

If you have any helpful travel tips for painting, add them below in the comments.

https://www.johnlovett.com/traveling-with-watercolor

Traveling Watercolor equipment

CAMBODIA

 

After a great workshop in Vietnam, Dianne and I flew over to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see the Angkor temples and waterside villages on  Tonle Sap lake. The Cambodian people are happy and friendly. The country is 97% Buddhist and many of the children, from poorer families, go into the monasteries to take pressure off the families. 

We met Pau, who entered a monastery at eight years of age and is now in his early twenties. He enjoys the discipline of the monastery. He speaks good English and is studying education. His goal is to open a village school to improve the chances for young people to work and study.

© John Lovett 2017
Monastery accommodation is austere and simple.

© John Lovett 2017
Pau, happy with his life as a Monk.

© John Lovett 2017
Detail of intricate stone carving from Angkor Wat

© John Lovett 2017

Angkor Wat Temple

© John Lovett 2017

Stone gable carving Angkor Wat

© John Lovett 2017

Ta Phrom Temple – slowly being eaten by the jungle.

© John Lovett 2017

 

Thom Bayon Temple features large carved stone heads of Buddha and beautiful, intricate relief carvings of daily life back in the 11th and 12th centuries.

© John Lovett 2017

© John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017  © John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with boredom

© John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with confusion

© John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with enlightenment.

 

© John Lovett 2017

Siem Reap petrol tanker – powered by a mechanical plough.

© John Lovett 2017

Fire pot vendor powered by a small motor scooter

© John Lovett 2017

Mattress vendor- powered by a small motorbike

 

© John Lovett 2017

With the luxury of a small truck, there is nothing you can’t carry.

 

From Siem Reap we travelled by tuk tuk down to Kampong Phluk – a village of stilt houses, some colorful, some old and thatched, built in the Tonle Sap Lake. It’s a fascinating village – life is lived entirely on the water. Kids grow up in boats and soon become skilled fishermen.

© John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017© John Lovett 2017© John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017   © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017 © John Lovett 2017

VIETNAM 2017

There is nothing like the chaos of Hanoi to jolt a visitor into the strangely functional confusion of Vietnam. We had a couple of days in Hanoi to adjust to the pace of Vietnam before heading north to the mountain village of Sapa.

A low pressure system off the coast made the weather less than perfect, but we managed to find sheltered painting locations and were lucky to have a fine day to walk through the Hmong Valley and do some sketching.

From Sapa we travelled by coach back to Hanoi then flew on to Da Nang where we were taken by bus to Hoi An and the luxury of the Anantara Hotel.© John Lovett 2017
Rice Paddys near Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Hanoi Back Street

© John Lovett 2017
Electrical repair workshop – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Hanoi Flower Vendor

© John Lovett 2017
How many flowers can you pack on to a motor scooter?

© John Lovett 2017
Portable kitchen – Hanoi
© John Lovett 2017
Party Time – Hanoi street bar

© John Lovett 2017
Midnight peak hour – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Hanoi Rain

© John Lovett 2017
Coke and Hot dogs – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Unidentified Delicacys – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017Stainless steel tuk tuk

© John Lovett 2017
Mother and five chicks – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Small police wagon – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Hot water, Pumps, Microwave specialist – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Dangerous Verandah – Hanoi

 

© John Lovett 2017
Dangerous front yard – Hanoi

© John Lovett 2017
Mix your own paint.

© John Lovett 2017© John Lovett 2017
Most of the Hanoi motorcycles are pretty mundane, but there are some stand out models.

© John Lovett 2017
Sapa Evening

© John Lovett 2017
Sapa Duck

© John Lovett 2017
Rice paddy fire – Hmong Valley

 

© John Lovett 2017
Crazy Dancing Chicken

© John Lovett 2017
Hmong Valley

© John Lovett 2017
Black Hmong woman with pedal sewing machine.

© John Lovett 2017
Grant sketching in Hmong Valley

© John Lovett 2017
Sapa – small buildings replaced by tall skinny ones

© John Lovett 2017
Our painting group with Hmong women models – Sapa Markets

© John Lovett 2017
Hmong Women sewed busily while we sketched

© John Lovett 2017
Water everywhere as we left Sapa.

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© John Lovett 2017

 

Hoi An

© John Lovett 2017© John Lovett 2017

© John Lovett 2017
Rosa hijacks a river boat to get us to the Red Bridge Cooking School

© John Lovett 2017
Net Casting – Hoi An

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Red Bridge Cooking School – where we all became excellent Vietnamese chefs.

© John Lovett 2017
Painting by the river on the verandah of an abandoned building – Hoi An.

© John Lovett 2017© John Lovett 2017

MT MOFFAT & BLACKALL 2017

The Blackall workshops are always a lot of fun. We get to meet people from surrounding sheep and cattle stations and local Blackall residents in the first workshop then folks fly in or drive from all over the place for the second workshop.

This year we left a couple of weeks early so we could visit Mt Moffat on the way west. Mt Moffat is part of the Carnarvon National Park. It connects to the head of Carnarvon Creek at the western end of Carnarvon Gorge and extends south.

Similar eroded, pale sandstone to Carnarvon Gorge is found throughout the Mt Moffat section. Access is by 4WD – there are some deeply rutted tracks, sandy sections and steep climbs up onto the plateau.

 

There are interesting sandstone formations and many escarpments and rock faces with aboriginal art work.

 

 

Confusing sign if you don’t read English!

 

We camped at Dargonelly Rock Hole. It was the only water source in the area, so animal and birdlife was pretty spectacular particularly early morning and late afternoon.

 

On top of the plateau the view stretched out in all directions. The plateau is over 1200 meters above sea level – the highest plateau in Queensland. We drove up to the head of Carnarvon Creek, where the track winds through a forest of giant Mahogany trees.

 

Small slab hut on the road into Mt. Moffat

 

We were lucky enough to arrive in Blackall the night six musicians, all from different countries, were performing at the Living Arts Center where we were staying. It was amazing how well such a diverse group of musicians could all blend perfectly into music from any of the six countries. It was great to meet these musicians and hear their stories.

 

 

Old River Gum late afternoon – Tambo

 

We had a couple of days between the two Blackall workshops, so drove out to Yaraka – the last town on the railway line before it closed down in the 1990’s. Below is the small settlement of Emmet along the same defunct railway line.

 

Lost Chev – Yaraka

 

Sunset on Mt Slowcombe near Yaraka

 

I love visiting the Blackall wool scour. It closed down years ago but has been kept in running condition as a tourist attraction. It looks like something from a horror movie. Everything is belt driven, powered by a steam engine. Over a kilometre of leather belts keep everything moving. With all this mechanical movement there is barely a sound – it is all so well built and maintained.

 

Heading home we passed the Roma sale yards where one of the weekly cattle sales were in progress. It’s an amazing event. Road trains arrive from near and far, cattle are unloaded, auctions take place then cattle are re loaded and delivered to the successful bidders. The auctioneers speak their own language at a speed only understandable by those in colored shirts and big hats. It really is a spectacle.