Saturday, September 26, 2015

Early Spring Evergreen - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Early Spring Evergreen" Colored Pencil

It’s early spring in Evergreen and a few mule deer are grazing peacefully on the fresh, green grass. Always alert, the young bucks are curious but cautious as they move carefully through the soggy park.

The weather is nicer now but definitely damp as this year’s wet monsoon has left the landscape with a glossy sheen. A condensed vapor of fine mist rises from the ground, defining certain elements with a soft halo.

Elk Meadow is an embroidery of subtle strokes woven together with layers of rich color. The mysterious atmosphere combined with unique texture and simple shading evokes the drawing’s dreamy appearance.

Rising out of a row of dark trees, the hazy foothills are expressed with overlapping shades of beautiful blue. Since the sun is setting, the steel sky is tinged with yellow and a large ponderosa pine emanates warmth from the inside out.

After suffering through a horrendous drought for the last several years, the moisture has been a godsend. It was an extraordinary season distinguished by an unprecedented natural event. It rained every single day in May.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Red-winged Blackbird - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Red-winged Blackbird" Colored Pencil

On a chilly morning in the mountains, a red-winged blackbird poses before it’s soggy marsh. Nesting in cattails just above waterline, the protective parent will become irritated with the slightest encroachment.

The earthy background is a swirl of subtle strokes that seems to follow the creature’s every contour. Distinguished by its classic color scheme, the volatile vocalist will defend this prime territory to a fault.

Pure black in art can be dangerous because it may deaden a lively depiction. In order to achieve the rich black shown here, several layers of orange, brown and indigo blue were applied tonally.

Amidst the suggestion of delicate feathering, a sharp eye is delineated with precision. The silvery beak and talons are tinged with a touch of true blue but the defining feature is the blazing wing bar that reflects the bird’s fiery character.

This drawing is more than just a realistic portrait of one of nature’s most temperamental personalities. The image is also meant to be an inspirational icon, an indisputable symbol of spring.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bergen Peak - A Gentle Giant

Bergen Peak

Looming over Elk Meadow, Bergen Peak is a moody mountain characterized by long trails, steep terrain and abundant wildlife. Morning light gilds the peak with warmth but by dusk, deep shadows can only be expressed with dark blue.

The forest’s edge is always full of activity, featuring a variety of vocal birds, foraging rodents and grazing ungulates. It’s always surprising to spot reptiles so high up but I often see garter snakes stretched out across the trail.

A wet spring has triggered a profusion of wildflowers on the sunny, south-facing slopes while further along, a dense section of lodgepole pine is dark and devoid of much life. Brightening the way, a few aspen are still struggling to grasp some sunlight.

As you get closer, the path starts spiraling towards the top where rocky outcrops offer awesome views all the way around. The secluded summit is crowned with wind-blown trees and governed by a gang of hungry ground squirrels.

The trip back down may take some time but it’s not near as strenuous. Looking up from the meadow, Bergen appears to be a brutal behemoth but if you get to know the peak personally, you’ll discover that it’s really just a gentle giant.

Long trails and steep terrain

Dark blue at dusk

The forest's edge

It's surprising to see snakes

A profusion of wildflowers

Aspen struggling for sunlight

Spiraling towards the summit

Awesome views all around

The top is governed by ground squirrels

Bergen is a gentle giant

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Evergreen Mountain - An Inconspicuous Incline

Evergreen Mountain Summit

Evergreen Mountain is an inconspicuous incline cloaked by a dark forest of lodgepole pine. The secluded trail to the top provides plenty of squirrels, shade and solitude.

Without a soul to be seen, a series of steep switchbacks climbs a rocky spine to the crest. Surrounded by a variety of big, blue peaks, the scenery from the summit is sublime.

The open-air overlook offers an array of unobstructed views. Spectacular Mount Evans Wilderness unfolds to west where it’s bookended by Bergen Peak and Black Mountain.

Energized by a bit of rest, the easy descent flies by as fast as the sunny season. Before long, we’re back down at the bottom where summer is over and so it begins.

An inconspicuous incline

A secluded trail

Plenty of squirrels

Steep switchbacks

Surrounded by peaks

The summit is sublime

An open-air overlook

Spectacular Mount Evans Wilderness

Bookended by Black Mountain

Summer is over

So it begins