3D map sketch of Tumamoc Hill in Tucson Arizona

Visualizing Tumamoc (Part 1)

by Roseann Hanson, Art and Science Program Coordinator

A map tells you where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going — in a sense it’s three tenses in one.” – Peter Greenaway

The Tumamoc community has been away from its geographic heartland for two weeks now. It’s been, I admit, a painful separation.

I decided to do a series of maps of Tumamoc. . . . visualizing our Chemamagi Do’ag in as many ways as I could graphically. If I could not be there in person, I could be there virtually, cartigraphically.

Here I share my first map, a 3D “cutaway” as seen from the northwestern side of the hill, off Anklam Road.

I chose this vantage point because I often visit the top of the little canyon that spills west from the Desert Laboratory buildings. I call it Wren Canyon, for the Canyon Wrens that make its rock recesses their homes and grace us every day with their cascading calls, song-water spilling down the rock-strewn gorge.
Here is an estimation of the box as I visualized it before starting to sketch I wanted to get enough elevation at the back, and topography down the middle, to make it interesting. Plus, I wanted to include the wash that runs at the base of the hill, so I could have fun with the sand spilling off the cube sides. (The image above is from Google Street View, taking in April, since the palo verdes are blooming.)
I first sketched a box in my field journal, in pencil. Then, after carefully studying the landscape, I drew in (still in pencil) the main geographic features: ridges, summits, the Desert Laboratory buildings, the washes.
After I was happy with the general layout, I copied over the main areas with pen, keeping it light and sketchy. For a sense of whimsy, I added sand grains spilling out of the wash where it was cut away in the 3D model (and also tree roots). Then I erased the pencil marks.
The final step was to add watercolor. Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) are in full flower in the lower and middle elevations, so I added yellow dots over the near hills. In the underground cutaway I represented the volcanic rock shades as well as the alluvial soils, and some whimsical sand spilling out of the wash. A Turkey Vulture soars over the northeastern edge, casting its shadow, further reminding us summer is on the way.

Do you have a Tumamoc map image to share? How do you visualize Tumamoc in part or whole? From above, from the the side, from underground? Please share your vision of Tumamoc.

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