Not many Utahns have visited the San Rafael Swell.
Maybe it's too far out on the state's east desert; or perhaps it's too distant, too isolated, almost beyond trail's end.But anyone who would like to see the Swell can do so in "Splash," a hard-cover volume containing photographs of 150 American watercolors. It's now available in bookstores and book club sales.
One of the watercolors is a full-color photograph of Carl Purcell's "Desert Harmonies." Purcell, who has been teaching classes in painting, ceramics and jewelry construction for 15 years, is now the head of Snow College's art department. He likes to visit the Swell during slow days to sketch, to dream and to contemplate.
The Swell, Purcell says, is one of nature's surviving wonders - a perfect blend of sound and scene. He has attempted to capture that feeling in Desert Harmonies, sold and now on display in a Las Vegas gallery, and in other watercolors.
The presence of the desert, Purcell thinks, is highly relevant to modern living. "I want to help make Utah more visible," he says, "to convey something of the all-encompassing serenity that seems to preside over the state."
Purcell's work was discussed in a recent article in The Artists' Magazine. He's a signature member of the National Watercolor Society and the Utah Watercolor Society. He' exhibited twice in the National Society's show and in San Antonio, Fresno, Denver and Las Vegas.
He's represented by two Utah galleries: the Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City and the Kimball Art Center in Park City.