The Art of R. Geoffrey Blackburn

"Canyonlands Paintings"

" To date I have done several of what I refer to as my  "Canyonlands Paintings" - 3 to 4 more to follow. Here is how it all started: I first came to Moab in 1970 with my late father-in-law, James Amon Murley Jr. a *character of the first order. Amon wasn't real happy having an artist for a son-in-law, ("what good are a bunch of paintings anyway?!") so he pushed to have me get into "something more respectable": i.e., uranium prospecting and promoting. (eye roll here). Amon had been involved in the mining business all his life and was involved in the first uranium boom of the 1950's. He knew all about staking claims and prospecting and had several pieces of mining equipment from that era. Amon had worked several properties near Moab and really knew his business. So, he set about advising me and my business partner Al Dart on all the finer points of the prospecting, exploration, mining and promoting game.

Picture this: *Amon was the guy you'd imagine leading a loaded-down burrow through the desert with a supply of grub, a rifle, assorted mining and prospecting gear. A character right out of the Old West, Amon lived in a mobile home first in Rifle Colorado then in Murray, Utah. He was stick thin, wore gaudy cowboy boots with his pant legs tucked in and a green cowboy hat with an elk teeth band around it. He also wore western shirts and a bolo tie. He chewed tobacco and was constantly spitting into a paper cup, so there always was a certain "aromatic ambience" to the trailer...

Al and I used to sit around his trailer with topographical maps covering every surface, studying the various areas, dreaming up deals, and laying out claim grids. Having spent most of his time in the 50's in and around Moab, Amon knew all the players from Charlie Stein to several other local characters. And he knew where several promising ore bodies and mineral traces were located. So, we took several trips to Moab to recon the area and stake lode claims. Naturally, still being an artist,  through all this, I fell in love with Moab and started doing paintings of the area on the side.  Due to my education by Amon and later others and a lot of time with geologists, my paintings are geologically accurate.  

Due to my baby-boomer sensibilities, I am also a bit of an environmentalist, so I made sure we conducted our business with that in mind and disturbed the environment very little and cleaned up as we went-unlike many of our predecessors.  Remember, back in the 1970's nuclear WAS considered THE clean energy alternative!

What is  now officially designated "Canyonlands National Park" has considerable uranium reserves.  If the world ever ceases to be so "politically correct" I may tell some of the more colorful stories connected with the wild old days of the last great uranium boom...

Quite a journey, that."

R. Geoffrey Blackburn


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Revised: 04/12/20