Tag Archives: Painted Desert

James Turrell


“Alpha Tunnel to the East Portal” by James Turrell at the Roden Crater. (Click on the photograph for details about this amazing project.)

When I think about an artist of light, the first person that would most obviously come to anyone’s mind is the late Thomas Kinkade.  I have always loved how he truly encompassed the beauty of richly lit landscapes and structures in his paintings that were always so clearly ‘Kincaid’.  James Turrell on the other hand, uses the palette of natural light which he visually encapsulates through his design of minimalistic architecture.  His ongoing project that has been underway since 1974, the “Roden Crater” is his magnum opus.  This structure, complete with an elliptical ‘Skyspace’ is located in the San Francisco Volcanic Field near the Arizona Painted Desert, and it reminds me of a sort of modern day Stonehenge in the works.  From within its walls, one can more discernibly experience the movement of the earth in relation to the moon, the sun and rare celestial events.  The changing horizon of each day and night promises a varied exhibition hour by hour, day by day.

Expected to open in 2011, it remains under construction as anticipation builds by natural wonder enthusiasts everywhere.  I had never heard of James Turrell prior to this course, but I now find myself rallying for the opening of this astounding site to visitors by the time we hope to take our family on a cross country tour.  This is definitely one for the Bucket List!!!