Saturday, November 26, 2016

Curious Red Fox - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Curious Red Fox" Colored Pencil

A red fox emerges from the lush undergrowth of a dark forest, watching quietly from atop a granite platform. A keen observer of the world around him, this resourceful creature has earned a legendary reputation for intelligence and cunning.

The fox is nimble afoot and has remarkable paws built for rough terrain while his black stockings blend impossibly into the vermillion coat. More orange than red, he moves easily through the thick brush and across a rockfall of strewn boulders.

Cropped out of the picture, the bushy brown tail lends some balance to the agile critter as well as to the composition. The textured, pine tree trunk is pushed into the background because of its low contrast, enclosing the scene.

The depiction is awash in morning light as limber ferns cast a pattern of peculiar shadows across the interior space. This resurrected drawing was freshened up with layers of rich color and completed with cautious realism.

The deep woodland is a mystical dwelling inhabited by all kinds of birds and wildlife. During an excursion into the wilderness, I enjoy seeing them all but there’s one local resident I admire the most - the curious red fox.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Crown Hill Park - A Golden Gateway

Crown Hill Park

Crown Hill Park is an expansive hilltop risen above a sea of amber waves of grain. The far off Flatirons form an impressive backdrop, giving an imaginative wanderer the feeling he’s walking in the wilderness.

The centerpiece of this wide, wheat ridge is a placid lake that’s cobalt blue and smooth as a mirror. Almost perfectly oval in shape, the reservoir and its adjacent wetlands are a birder’s paradise.

During an Indian Summer, the sun-drenched forest exterior is a glorious yellow and full of life. Buzzing about the gnarled cottonwoods, energetic kingfishers happily call this place home.

Nearby, Kestrel Pond is mostly a soggy bottom filled with cattail willows. The ground floor is crawling with creepy, little creatures such as spiders, grasshoppers, praying mantis and garter snakes.

You’ll notice the landscape is distinguished by contrasting colors and textures while romping across this countryside. An isolated haven nestled in the sprawling suburbs, Crown Hill is a golden gateway to Colorado’s mountain west.

The Flatirons are an impressive backdrop

Walking in the wilderness

A blue lake is the centerpiece

Smooth as a mirror

A birder's paradise

An Indian Summer

Glorious yellow

Kestrel Pond is mostly cattails

Grasshopper

Garter Snake

Contrasting colors and textures

An isolated haven

A golden gateway to the west

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dillon Reservoir - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Dillon Reservoir" Colored Pencil

It’s a dreary, November day at Dillon Reservoir in Summit County, Colorado. Observed from an astonishing overlook, the watery encompassment is hit with a precursor to the volatile winter weather that defines this elevated area.

As temperatures continue to plummet, the passing storm fills the air with pellets of frozen moisture. On land, the foothills feature broken terrain expressed with indistinct outlines erased by the murky atmosphere.

The dark foreground of brush and foliage is enlivened by an inconspicuous grove of orange aspen. Stretched across the textured sheet of paper, the water is steel-blue, taking on the tone of the turbulent sky.

The thin strips of shoreline are jigsawed carefully into the dense forest. Also, horizontal passages of infinite shades of green are succeeded by a string of gray mountains whose contours fade into the distance.

Where the sun’s rays are allowed to touch the earth, patches of vermillion warm the low-key landscape. Those shafts of surreal light stream through the imperial heavens and conclude the composition by highlighting the innocent, white peak.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bighorn Sheep Winter - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Bighorn Sheep Winter" Colored Pencil
Rocky Mountain thunder cracks across the gray, November sky. Heard for miles around, the stirring echoes are from the violent clash between massive combatants who are desperate to prove their masculine dominance.

The battles may last for twenty-four hours but the exhausted victor earns exclusive mating rights. The weapons of choice are the impressive, coiled horns that are the distinguishing feature of Colorado's state symbol, the bighorn sheep.

They are the ultimate gladiators built to live along steep ridges and in rugged canyons. This fragile species must also carefully navigate the precipice of extinction as the sheep are extremely sensitive to artificial disturbances in their natural environment.

It's a familiar story but the numbers are staggering - before 1800, two million bighorn sheep populated North America. By the year 1900, only a few thousand remained as hunting, loss of habitat and disease spread by introduced livestock decimated their numbers.

In 1936 the Arizona Boy Scouts mounted a sympathetic campaign to rescue the bighorn sheep. A "Save the Bighorns" art contest launched in schools throughout the state garnered national attention. Once made aware of the dire situation, other wildlife organizations joined the effort.

Intense conservation methods such as reintroduction into their former homelands, a decrease in direct competition with domestic sheep and protection from National Parks have all been successful. In areas where the bighorn sheep are allowed to roam unimpeded by man-made obstacles, the animals are thriving once again.