Christopher Brown and Elizabeth Black, a long-time Boulder artist-couple, met 25 years ago when they were both working on the Colorado River, guiding raft trips through the Grand Canyon.  On Friday November 19th, a show of their Grand Canyon photographs and paintings will open at Mary Williams Fine Arts. 

Entitled "Path of Beauty, 3 Visions of the Grand Canyon from the 19th through the 21st Centuries", the art show takes its title from Brown's recently published book of Grand Canyon photographs, spanning 30 years of the photographer's career.  Brown's book, "Path of Beauty, Photographic Adventures in the Grand Canyon" includes 75 color photographs as well as a series of his essays covering geology, a boatman's life, the photographic process and and his own personal quest for "First Sight".

The art show includes Brown's large format color photographs, all of which are in his book, as well as 23 of Elizabeth' Black's oil paintings and watercolors.  In addition, Mary Williams will be showing antique prints of the Grand Canyon from her extensive collection, including chromo-lithographs by Thomas Moran and Lois Akin, and a complete original copy of Dutton's Tertiary History of the Grand Canyon.

Black and Brown just recently completed a second "honeymoon-trip" down the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon. They had done another one-boat two-person trip back in 1986, and decided to float the river one more time, just the two of them, while they still were able to.

"We had slightly different equipment this time though: an 18 foot self-bailer instead of a leaky Shoshone; oil paints instead of watercolors; and Chris had a digital camera instead of his 4x5 sheet-film eating Baby Deardorff.
  We were less agile and energetic than we were 25 years ago, and the rapids were a little more intimidating.   But it was wonderful to be back in the Canyon, alive and wild in the heart of it! We both got some wonderful art and source material from the trip, enough to keep us creating new images of the Canyon for years to come". says Black.

Although they frequently paint and photograph other subjects, both artists keep returning to the Grand Canyon for inspiration. "My view of the Canyon, from the inside out, is distinctly not the Grand Canyon most people expect to see.  I never know what to expect when I go to the Canyon, just that it will be different -- and this is what keeps me coming back for more!", says Brown. 

Like the many multi-hued layers of rock which make up the Colorado Plateau, the art in this show builds a multi-hued image of the Grand Canyon, layer upon layer.  Views of serene sunrises, ancient Indian ruins, shaded intimate slot canyons, and vast panoramas of the stinking hot desert combine and build a many-splendor-ed vision of our very own World-Wonder, the Grand Canyon.  It is indeed Grand!

All of the art in the show glows with the artists' affection for the Canyon, from Moran's romantic overblown and inexact renditions, to William H. Holmes' meticulously exact line drawings.  The Grand Canyon has burrowed into all the artists' hearts.  As Elizabeth Black says, "The Grand Canyon has taught me to paint and to row big water.  It introduced me to my husband and many life-long friends.  Over the years, the Canyon has revealed great beauty, and showed me how to endure and to see.  It has taught me how to live lightly on the earth and how to hold up half the sky.  The Canyon has given me many gifts.  I am just trying to pass some of them on to you in my paintings."

Path of Beauty, 3 Visions of the Grand Canyon from the 19th through the 21st Centuries

What: An exhibit of art about the Grand Canyon, featuring the photography of Christopher Brown, original paintings by Elizabeth Black, and a collection of antique prints from Mary Williams Fine Arts

November 18 to December 15, 2010  Opening Reception: Friday November 19 from 5-8PM

Where: Mary Williams Fine Arts, 2116 Pearl St, Boulder CO 80302

Hours: Mon-Fri 10AM to 6PM; Sat 10AM to 5PM

Website:   To see a preview of Elizabeth Black's paintings in the show go to


Admission: FREE

Downstream from Saddle Canyon, 9AM  Oil painting by Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black painting from the raft at Lee's Ferry, at the start of the couple's second "honeymoon trip".

Chris Brown photographing in Matkatameba Canyon on the couple's second "honeymoon trip."

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