Currently on view in the museum’s Art of the American West galleries are various landscapes depicting the western region of the United States. These works sometimes remind us of locations we have visited, places we call home, and environments we one day hope to travel. Laurence Sisson’s Thundering Desert makes us dream of monsoons and a reprieve from the desert heat.
Laurence Sisson, Thundering Desert, 1995, oil on Masonite, 42 x 60 in. Collection of the Tucson Museum of Art. Gift of Judy Sisson. 2018.15
Materials needed: pencil, glue stick, a background, scissors and paint chips
Describe the landscape (think of the senses). What does it smell like? Sound like? Look like? Talk about the textures; use descriptive language.
Start your description with “This place…”
Next, transform your description to a three line poem using the prompts below to begin each line.
This poem was collaboratively written by participants in an interactive tour co-hosted by the Tucson Museum of Art and #ThisisTucson about Thundering Desert by Laurence Sisson.
Rolling tumultuous thunder,
reaching me to my core.
It echoes and returns from distant hills.
unfurled across the sky.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
Rolling across the landscape
shades of grey
Rolling back and forth
Rolling, careening into & through my soul;
Clouds foretold the rain
Rolling thunder clouds threaten the hot desert afternoon
Rolling in from the heavens
it was big, furious, and swift
the first day of the monsoon.
a turning point,
cooling and anticipation
It was the beginning of a fresh start
It was late,
powerful and peaceful
It was a relief
It was life giving and soothing.
It was ancient, it was forever; towering and violent.
billowing and strong
It was the promise of rain, not forgotten, soon to be fulfilled.
it felt spiritual loping through it on my mare,
like the whole desert exhaled
like a spirit was released from my body.
it felt vast & heavy, a portent of things ahead
majestic and lonely
hopeful and renewing
exhilarating and enlivening.
It felt electric. Thick.
It felt bigger than the entire world, like
a relief to mind and spirit
a deep cleansing breath.