Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dragon Duel - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Dragon Duel" Colored Pencil

"Riddles my weapons. Answers my shield. Though you battle with wit, I'll never yield."
Slowly the clamped teeth loosened. The watching dragons collectively sighed in disappointment. But the confrontation was not over.
"My wit is quite sharp," responded the leader, "as sharp as my claws and teeth. One wound means your life as surely as this battle will.
"And if my riddle wounds you?" asked Strange One.
"You and your servant leave here alive. You, as an unnatural dragon, are outcast and banished from the gatherings forever..."

My friend, Cindy Schuricht, asked me to illustrate the preceding passage for the cover of her new book, Secrets of the Flame - The Power to Protect. Considered a magical fantasy the story is categorized as juvenile fiction. Written in a whimsical format, Secrets teaches us the hard truth about letting go. In the tradition of an American fable, this tale spotlights the farm, family and freedom.

Each year, under the eerie glow of a full moon, thousands of dragons gather atop a ring of remote, jagged peaks. At this sacred place, ancient rituals arouse the mind, body and spirit. The cold, mountain air is filled with recollections, racing reptiles and riddles.

In the drawing above, two combatants square off in a war of words. It's a composition chock-full of classic contrasts where the undisputed commander challenges the cocky youngster. The fiery-red behemoth is fuming with white-hot impatience while the strange fledgling exudes a certain innocence.

The desperate, little dragon hopes to stump the sore loser and escape with his skin and an unexpected servant. The chronicles continue at a lively pace as the fate of Strange One's family comes to the forefront. From there, further reading is required to reach the final resolution.

Please visit Cindy's website for more information: Hundred Book Pile-up

The wonderful book is currently available at Amazon.com: Secrets of the Flame

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Last Dollar Road - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Last Dollar Road" Colored Pencil

It's a wet spring day in southwestern Colorado. Along a rough edge of the San Juans, sculpted spires are an astonishing work of art. Standing in an ochre meadow, a grove of gray aspen is topped with a canopy of fresh green while olive-colored hills rise into a seamless transition with the silver mountains.

Hayden is the prominent centerpiece of this fine bouquet of pretty peaks. Slightly offset, the festive summit to the right is aptly named North Pole. This open passage over the magnificent mesa described here will lead the lucky driver on an epic adventure.

To find this place, come down out of the Black Canyon, head south from Montrose along the Uncomphagre Plateau, take a right at Ridgeway and you'll discover the Dallas Divide. Up top there's a dirt path that's an obscure shortcut to the town of Telluride.

Snaking through the Sneffels Range, the scenic side-trip may slow your car down but the divine drive will raise your spirits up. So, if you ever find yourself in Ridgeway, make sure you've got some money in your pocket and take the secret, Sunday drive down Last Dollar Road.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Blue Lakes - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Blue Lakes" Colored Pencil

On a cold, clear morning near Breckenridge, icy Blue Lakes is a stark land of rock, snow and ice. It's early summer but the orange peaks still dwell in winter's blue shadow. The mountain melt is a gradual process described with gradients of indigo and gold.

After a season of somber gray, passages of fluid color are emerging from beneath the thick, white impasto. Long slides of ochre-stained snow descend to the water's edge and are swallowed by the merciless, dark reservoir.

Due to the warmer dawn, spectacular bergs of emerald ice are beginning to break apart. The foreground is filled with a confusing jumble of fractured frozen-water where shards of sparkling silver frost succumb to the menacing pond.

The array of awesome alps is a monument to an earlier epoch. On this day, the jagged ridgeline is an exciting contour that encloses the entire cirque while a network of slushy snow makes navigating the upper reaches a slippery pursuit.

The struggle to attain a resistant pinnacle examines even the most enthusiastic explorer. Within this simplified circle of rock, the resolute wanderer will hopefully find enough peace, strength and conviction to scramble through another year.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Evening Light Evergreen - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Evening Light Evergreen" Colored Pencil

"Through art we can change the world." ~ #twitterartexhibit

Regal elk graze peacefully in a rolling meadow near Evergreen, Colorado. Evening light infuses the landscape with a golden hue befitting this heavenly kingdom. It's fall so long shadows form undulating lines across the yellow field.

Stately ponderosa pine swirl towards the cerulean sky, trying to soak in the sun's last rays. In the background, a ring of soft blue peaks enhances an already elegant atmosphere.

It's such a simple scene but it means so much to me. After years of searching while on a never-ending quest, I feel like I've traveled a million miles. I truly believe this place is where I belong. I'm lucky, this is home.

Evening Light Evergreen is my contribution to the upcoming Twitter Art Exhibit: Moss. This unique event is an international exhibition of original postcard art benefiting Home-Start Moss, a nonprofit organization helping families in need.

Home-Start believes that every child deserves the best start in life. By matching experienced volunteers to families with young children, Home-Start provides support that is free to the family, confidential, and based on individual needs.

Volunteers do not make judgements or tell the parents how to live their lives; instead, they try to encourage confidence and independence, and help families build their own networks of friends and other support.

Twitter Art Exhibit: Moss is the fifth installment of an open international exhibition of handmade postcard art for charity, donated by hundreds of participating artists from around the globe.

Social media plays a major role in Twitter Art Exhibit. It is their intention to tweet, share, seed and promote the artists to thank them for their participation, and to make this event a huge success.

For more information, please check out this link: #twitterartexhibit

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bald Eagles - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Bald Eagles" Colored Pencil

High above a big, blue reservoir, snow-covered peaks form an impressive backdrop as a pair of bald eagles secure their lofty roost. The fish-filled lake will provide the birds of prey with plenty of food for an entire winter.

Always around water, the white-headed raptor is an opportunistic angler. Though an apex predator, it's versatile enough to procure a meal by any means necessary, including hunting, scavenging or outright thievery.

Native to North America, the bald eagle is the undisputed emblem of the United States. Pesticides and hunting by paranoid ranchers almost exterminated our national bird but with proper protection, it has recovered and is prospering across the union.

A powerful patriot, the high-flying eagle is a symbol of everlasting liberty. We watch enviously as the wide-winged warrior soars freely through spacious skies above, while us downtrodden dreamers remain confined to the earth below.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

White Ranch Park - The Perfect Showcase

White Ranch Park

Located northwest out of Golden, White Ranch Park is an open space that offers plenty of room to roam. Upon entering through an elaborate gateway, you'll discover a rugged landscape carved by Van Bibber Creek.

The lush environment is a birder's paradise that, after crossing an old wooden bridge, gives way to steep hillsides. Teeming with wildlife as well, the scrub forest is most definitely the domain of the mule deer.

Spring is busy. The place is bursting with renewed activity. Filled with cold runoff, the resilient Van Bibber rushes down out of snowy Front Range Peaks. Concealed in the canopy of fresh yellow and green, noisy birds are building nests.

Summer is hot and dry. Quiet days give way to afternoon thunder showers that quench the parched brook. As evening descends and temperatures cool, the park comes to life. A chorus of happy birds serenades the deer grazing on grassy, green knolls.

Fall is pretty. Jagged Devil's Thumb rises out of a hellish furnace of blazing colors. The rocky creek is barely more than a trickle and the birds have flown south. The horses are still out to pasture and rabbits have retired to the briar.

Winter is difficult. Devoid of life, the tradeoff for solitude is bitter cold. Punctured by frosted boulders, the frozen stream is an icy corridor winding through a winter wonderland. The bluffs are brown and serrated by rippled waves of windswept snow.

I don't like change but I've learned to accept it through nature. Over the past few years, White Ranch has proven to be the perfect showcase for observing the evolving seasons. The beauty of the park is its ever-changing nature.

No matter when we go, the varied landscape offers the explorer a unique experience. Depending on the light, weather and color, each season is distinguished by a distinct display of fleeting attributes. Except for winter, it seems to last forever.

Spring is a time for renewel

The Van Bibber rushes down out of the Front Range

A resilient, rocky creek

Summers are hot and dry

Black-headed Grosbeak sings his heart out

Mule deer graze peacefully

Steep, rugged hillsides

Fall is the prettiest time of year

Jagged Devil's Thumb Peak

The park is beautiful

The solitude of winter is bitter cold

Frosted boulders and a frozen stream

Gateway to a winter wonderland

Saturday, December 13, 2014

South Table Mountain - A Beautiful Bastion

South Table Mountain

On a sunny September morn, we got out of our chairs and headed for South Table Mountain in Golden, Colorado. The inconspicuous trailhead was concealed in an urban environment but after the domestic beginning, we found ourselves in a rugged outback.

Slightly on our way, we encountered a sleepy serpent basking in the warm sunshine. After the rattlesnake rendezvous, we were fueled by a rush of adrenaline. Trailblazing up a series of sharp switchbacks, the heart-pumping path rose quickly.

In the cool, blue shadow of a magnificent mesa, we ascended ever higher. Finally, after a leg-burning scramble through a narrow passage of loose scree, we attained the flat, false summit. Off to the west, a solitary butte was a beautiful bastion overlooking the foothills.

In order to obtain the true finish circle, we mastered the final gut-busting set of steep stairs. From atop the round tower, an oval plateau offered a panorama of the pleasant landscape. After a while, as the sun continued to rise, we began our descent.

The return trek was a knee-pounding drop. A downward spiral emptied into the flowery snake den where the reticent reptile had so unceremoniously slithered off trail. Back at the beginning, hot and tired, a bottle of cold water was welcome refreshment after the weekend workout.

A rugged outback

Rattlesnake basking in the sun

A magnificent mesa and its cool, blue shadow

The flat, false summit

Gut-busting stairs

The summit plateau

A pleasant landscape

A downward spiral

A flowery snake den