Painting of Zion National Park by John Cogan 

"Light Has Come into the Canyon" by John Cogan

Zion Natural History Association * Zion National Park Foundation * Zion Canyon Field Institute

Angels Landing Zion National Park, Utah

   Mail: Zion Natural History Association * Zion National Park * Springdale, UT 84767 


   Phone: 435-772-3264    Email:

October 20, 2011 
In this issue:

-No Finer Hour

-The Great Line-up

-Fall Park Programs

-Leaf Watch

-Great Sale Item

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Logo Zion Natural History Association
Zion Natural History Association
Members make a  difference!
Sketch of Canyon Grape Leaf by Tom Blaue
Leaf Watch 

The foliage in Zion Canyon and along the Virgin River has just begun the slow pilgrimage to autumn splendor. Abundant Spring rain and a relatively mild summer have created lush, thick greenery this year but now light shades of yellow are creeping into view. A couple of weeks should bring on full color.

If you are able to venture to Lava Point, Zion park rangers report that the color is in full bloom now.

The east side of Zion is where the full show of color is on display. Come see the beauty of the Box Elder, the Bigtooth Maple, Gambel's Oak and the Utah Serviceberry.

Zion's Finest Hour
by Lyman Hafen
Executive Director 


Arlene Braithwate in 2009 Zion Art Event
Arlene Braithwaite painting in the 'Footsteps of Thomas Moran' 2009.


                 If I were allowed only 90 minutes in Zion National Park this year, I would choose the 90 minutes beginning at 12:00 noon, Mountain Standard Time, and ending at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, November 4. During that magical hour-and-a-half, 24 of the most wonderful landscape artists in America will participate in a "Quick-Draw" event. They will be standing at their easels on the large lawn in front of the Zion Lodge as invited artists in the 2011 "In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran Plein Air Art Invitational in Zion National Park." Each will be painting the scene of his or her choice, and I, along with everyone else fortunate enough to be there, will be able to look over their shoulders as they miraculously create a work of art that must be finished when the signal is given at 1:30. Then, if I were allowed to stay another couple of hours, I would have the chance to view all the completed pieces, and even bid on the painting(s) of my choice during a live auction.

                Of course, anyone in the world is allowed to spend all the time they wish in Zion National Park, but I can think of no better day, no finer hour, to be in the canyon.           

Thomas Moran
Thomas Moran made his first sketches of Zion in 1873.

          On the first Friday of November last year I learned how short, and how long, an hour is. It was the day of the "Quick-Draw" art event in Zion National Park. Twenty-two superb landscape artists had been painting throughout Zion Canyon all week, setting up their easels in the same spots where the iconic Nineteenth Century artist Thomas Moran made his first sketches of Zion in 1873. Each artist had produced a half-dozen paintings that would go on sale that evening in the Zion Nature Center as part of a fundraiser for the Zion National Park Foundation. But starting at noon that stunning Friday they were each given 60 minutes to produce one painting to be sold in an auction immediately following.

                I wondered how they could do it, and I was skeptical about what the results would be. These were artists accustomed to painting on location, but they were also perfectionists who labored for hours, days, weeks, even months to finish a painting to their personal standards. Before it started I wandered all around the outside of the Zion Human History Museum where the artists had selected the scenes they would paint.  Some had settled on the Temples and Towers of the Virgin, the West Temple, the Sundial, the Altar of Sacrifice. Others were oriented toward the Watchman or Bridge Mountain, or the Beehives.

                The countdown began and at noon sharp the painting commenced. I settled in at the shoulder of one artist and watched as a pure white sheet of watercolor paper began to take on the subtle shades of the canyon. I thought to myself, what am I capable of accomplishing in 60 minutes?   And I watched as the seconds ticked and that blank leaf of paper transformed, minute by minute, into an astounding work of art.

                When the hour was over and the signal was given, the artist deftly dabbed one last brush stroke and stood up. By now a dozen admirers had gathered around his easel. We looked at each other in amazement. It went unsaid, but we all felt we had just witnessed a miracle.

                I strolled off to look at all the other artists' creations. One by one I was stunned by each, overcome by the realization that only 60 minutes earlier none of those exquisite creations had existed.

                On Friday, November 4th, you can have the same experience. This year's Zion Plein Air event features many of the same artists as last year, as well as several new ones from across the country. The "Quick-Draw" event starts at noon and this year it will be held on the lawn of the Zion Lodge. It's open to the public. If you come you will leave with a new appreciation for the value of an hour.



Painting of Zion National Park by Bill Cramer
"Evening Ritual"
Oil on Panel by Bill Cramer 2011
Come to Zion
Wow! Look At All There Is to Do. 
  • Watch the Artists Paint
  • Attend Free Art Demonstrations
  • Hear Free Lectures
  • Go to Ranger-led Programs
  • Take a Hike!
  • Photograph Fall Foliage
  • Enjoy a Field Institute Course
  • Shop at the Visitor Center (Your Purchase Benefits Zion!)

 Watch the Artists Paint


Artist Roland Lee painting in Zion National Park Plein Air Event 2010
Artist Roland Lee 2010

 Artists arrive in Zion on Monday, October 31st and select locations from which they will begin to paint. Monday through Thursday, visitors can find the artists in the park painting in 'Plein Air'. Locations have been pre-selected from places known to have been used by historic artist, Thomas Moran. Visitors entering the park will be given maps to areas where artists are at work. Enjoy watching them create their beautiful work.




Attend Free Art Demonstrations


Artist Cody DeLong Zion Quick Draw 2010

Artist Cody DeLong

Quick Draw 2010


Free demonstrations will be open to the general public at the South Campground Amphitheater at 1:30 p.m.


Monday           George Handrahan

Tuesday          Cody DeLong

Wednesday    Mark Bangerter

Thursday         William Scott Jennings


Click here for more information. 











Zion Lecturer Kevin Barry
Art Expert Kevin Barry


Hear Free Lectures


Interesting lectures are free of charge and will be held in the Zion Lodge Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.



     Art and the Preservation of our National Parks by Christopher Gezon.


      Thomas Moran in Zion by Deborah Reeder.


      Creating and Sustaining an Art Collection by Kevin Barry.


Click here to find books about art in Zion National Park.

Go to Ranger-led Programs   

Jim Lutterman speaks of sustainability in Zion.
Jim Lutterman gives a program about sustainability in Zion.


It is a great time to visit Zion. Crowds are winding down and there are still so many things to do. Zion National Park Interpretive Division has a great program schedule. Learn about topics ranging from Animal Habitat to Zion Zoology.


Click here (page 8) to see the schedule for the Fall 2011 program schedule.




Take a Hike!   

Grandfather points out features of Zion to young Granddaughter.
It is never too early to discover the joy of the great outdoors.


Warm days make this a perfect time of year to hike in the park.


Click here to print a FREE hiking guide.


Click here for a great guide to Zion National Park and surrounding area. Try out our award winning book,  Zion Adventure Guide.


Click here to purchase a Topographic Map of Zion National Park.










Zion Fall Photo Workshop
Group photographs Zion's beautiful Autumn scenery.

Photograph Fall Foliage



Autumn is spectacular in Zion. The color lingers well past the middle of November.


The Zion Canyon Field Institute has limited spaces available in  Fall Photography. This annual workshop will be October 30 - November 1. Click here for more information.    





Shop at the Visitor Center Store (or Online!) 
Purchases made at ZNHA Bookstores or online benefit vital programs in Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument and Pipe Spring National Monument. Next time you visit stop by one of our stores to see all of the beautiful products we sell.
Book Zion Adventure Guide
2012 Zion National Park Calendar
Zion National Park Tote Bag
Zion Collectable Patches


 Zion WPA Poster


Puzzle Zion National Park
We invite you to visit one of our non-profit bookstores next time you visit Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks or Pipe Spring National Monuments.
Utah Rocks! T-shirtGreat Discount!
Utah Rocks! Long Sleeve T-shirt   

Just in time for gift giving! Utah Rocks! Enjoy a symphony of nature on the Colorado Plateau as you visit these top parks, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands. This stoneblue t-shirt celebrates the geologic story that makes these beautiful parks possible.
Regular Price: $23.99 

Sale Price: $21.59

Member Price $19.19

(Click here to learn about ZNHA membership.)

Offer Expires November 2, 2011








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