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Label, Grand Central Art Galleries, New York

According to Clark Hulings in A Gallery of Paintings by Clark Hulings, “In the fall of 1967, the United States Department of the Interior, with the help of the Society of Illustrators, embarked on a project to have paintings made of all the national parks. It fell to me to paint the Grand Canyon. At that time, I had never seen the canyon which was to play such an important part in my career. I had, of course, seen many picture of the canyon. I wanted to try to do something different, perhaps a mid-air view from a helicopter or a look-up view from Phantom Lodge at the bottom. For this reason, I asked the government to promise the use of a helicopter. This was given very reluctantly as there was at that time much pressure to keep commercial interests out of the parks. Helicopters were banned except for very special government business. Mary and I had another private reason. We were expecting a baby and the doctor had said no mule rides or four-hour hikes.

“I made arrangements with the park rangers to coordinate our helicopter ride with the arrival of a pack train at a particular switchback halfway down, so that I could take pictures of the canyon from mid-air with riders and animals in the foreground. In practice, this never worked out because as we got close enough to take pictures, we were waved off. The helicopter was starting to spook the mules. Our overnight visit to Phantom Lodge on the canyon floor was also a disappointment. Before we could find our cabin, a blackout occurred. A moonless night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon during a power failure is a black night indeed. With the help of some vague directions and a box of matches we somehow found a couple of beds.

“Once back on top, I spent five days exploring the South Rim from end to end, taking hundreds of photographs and learning something about the canyon itself.…”

Grand Central Galleries, New York, New York
Private Collection, Arizona

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