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Poudre Canyon - An Awesome Realm

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Poudre Canyon Gashed into the northern Front Range Foothills, Poudre Canyon is a steep drainage that’s as picturesque as it is rugged. A braid of blue water snakes through the tortuous chasm while flowing down to the lowlands. At its most shallow in the autumn, the Poudre River reveals the multitude of rocks and debris normally submerged below the surface. The lazy current and quiet solitude evoke a peaceful atmosphere of extreme tranquility. Sinewy cottonwoods fringe the banks and the golden foliage, flickering in the morning sunlight, is even more brilliant when set against the cobalt sky. The trees cast transparent shadows that sneak passively across the coarse terrain. The gorge is boxed in by steep walls that have been eroded into a spectacular arrangement of jagged peaks, pinnacles and spires. Peering up from within the ravine, the ridge line is described by an impressive, sawtooth profile. A lonely road contours the winding refuge as it gradually ascends the narrow pass

Prairie Solstice - Colored Pencil Drawing

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"Prairie Solstice" Colored Pencil Rising starkly above a sea of dried prairie grass, a pair of megalithic landmarks are backlit by the setting sun. It’s the first day of summer so on this special day the solar disk splits the giant rocks, flooding the atmosphere with yellow light. A long, dark shadow is unfurled across the undulating terrain, reinforcing the permanence of the mysterious landscape. Grazing peacefully, a few horses are the only creatures to bear witness to the incredible ambience associated with this yearly event. Citron luminescence radiates into the sky creating a gradient of color that extends from teal to blue-violet. Modulated by soft shading and broken edges, a web of silky clouds is spun across the crystal-clear firmament. It’s an idyllic vision of a peaceful pastureland set in a remote section of the Great Plains. The reticent countryside of rolling hills is a place where the awesome power of nature is unmasked every day. The landscape, weather

Days of Glory - Colored Pencil Drawing

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"Days of Glory" Colored Pencil Drawing It’s the early 1900s and Bridgeport, Nebraska is a fledgling community basking in the sunshine of its glory days. The town is known as “Trail City, USA” because it sits on or near many trails of the Old West including the Oregon, California, Mormon, Pony Express and Sidney-Black Hills trails. Back in 1876, Henry T. Clarke built a bridge across the North Platte River just three miles upstream from the current site of Bridgeport. This overpass improved the link between Sidney and the booming, gold-mining settlements in the Black Hills. The exchange of goods and precious metals between the two regions flourished for about a decade. During that time a loose-knit medley of early settlers established Camp Clarke, a small village located near the river. The actual town of Bridgeport was officially founded as a railway station by the Burlington Railroad in 1900. After the coming of the trains, the population increased dramatically and in 1

Agate Fossil Beds - A Land That Time Forgot

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Agate Fossil Beds Unearthed in the panhandle that is western Nebraska, the Agate Fossil Beds are a fascinating monument documenting ancient history. From the associated museum, a steep, 3-mile trail leads up to Fossil Hills where the old dig site can still be seen. At the end of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, this area was a tropical lowland and mammals began to emerge. Volcanic activity was intense and a range of mountains started to form in the west while the climate became cooler and drier, transforming the region into a great savanna where immense herds of animals grazed on lush grasses. Common species on the prairie were Palaeocastor - a dry land beaver, Moropus - a distant relative of the horse, Menoceras - a three-foot-tall rhino and Stenomylus - a tiny gazelle-camel. Carnivores evolved to prey on these plains-dwellers the most notorious of which were Daphoenodon - a fearsome beardog and Dinohyus - a terrible hog endowed with bone-crushing teeth enabling it to scavenge

San Antonio Riverwalk - A Historic Oasis

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San Antonio Riverwalk Summer in south Texas is sweltering but if your looking for respite from the brutal heat, the Riverwalk in San Antonio is a historic oasis. The vibrant town center is a melting pot of diverse history, culture and cuisine. Man-made canals branch off from the main stream creating a labyrinth of narrow passageways that circulate through the district. Picturesque bridges built in creative shapes and sizes span the water at convenient intervals. Situated below street level, the tributary flows past shops, restaurants and galleries, offering something for everyone. Statues stand above gardens of exotic flora, filling alcoves that appear at every bend. Steamy mornings on the path are bathed in hazy light and the creek, reflecting the surrounding foliage, is colored green. As the day warms up, the search for shade begins so the buildings’ shadows become comfortable breezeways. The architecture encompassing the area is a curious blend of old and new as glittering s

Desert Gateway - Colored Pencil Drawing

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"Desert Gateway" Colored Pencil Offering sanctuary from the furnace of sweltering heat, a chain of blue mountains streaks across the background of a fiery landscape. The desolate environment is stark, harsh and lonely. Despite its beauty, the desert is a brutal place that can bring your demise at any moment. Not only is the severe climate and rugged terrain a problem but a sudden snake bite can be deadly. The wide open space is broken by terraces of escarpment that appear more red as they recede. Applied with precision, smooth gradations mask the rugged nature of this rocky netherworld. The bleached shelf in the foreground is bathed in a bright yellow made even more vibrant by the violet shadows. Yet, the most shocking aspect is the shimmering sulphur sky that results from a mid-summer sun. This non-naturalistic expression is not designed to display superficial accuracy. The arid plateau is too straightforward to tether with complicated details so a more symbolic appr

Summer Snowstorm - A Startling Rebellion

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Summer Snowstorm After about a week of warmer weather, summer’s first glimmer was promptly extinguished by winter’s last gasp. The cold front swirled into the area disrupting the local inhabitants’ annual activities. It was just days before the unofficial start to summer when an intransigent snowstorm pummeled the foothills into a deep freeze. The startling weather rebellion was a dramatic turn of events that shocked the unsuspecting ecosystem. The sturdy pine trees were cemented with a plaster of heavy, wet snow, bending limbs almost to their breaking point. The greening meadows were buried under immense drifts that swelled like waves in a great, white sea. Down at the recently thawed lake, the black water contrasted sharply with the frosted marshland. The fresh inkwell captured faithful reflections of the entombed valley’s stark beauty. Low hanging clouds skimmed across the summits of background peaks creating an imposing atmosphere. The intimidating effect conjured by the su