Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Brook Forest Inn - Ghosts, Germans and Gold

The Brook Forest Inn is southwest of Evergreen

It was the summer of 1943 near Evergreen, Colorado and the Brook Forest Inn was a luxury resort nestled in a stand of lodgepole pine at the base of Black Mountain. Carl was at work in the nearby livery stable when he learned that his wife, Jessica, had been unfaithful.

Jessica also worked at the inn and she was preparing the Monte Carlo Room for that evening's guests. Carl stormed in, confronted her and a violent altercation ensued. Fueled by a jealous rage, Carl strangled Jessica to death. Overcome with guilt, Carl returned to the stable, constructed a rope noose and promptly hung himself. The stunning tragedy shocked the idyllic mountain community.

A few years earlier, before the outbreak of World War II, a suspicious group of German tourists checked into the hotel. They claimed to be on a bicycle tour of America. Come to find out, they were actually spies. They used the place as a headquarters while they studied and mapped the United States for Adolph Hitler.

It is reported that the dining room carpet covered a large swastika painted on the floor. To this day, it is believed that Nazi gold from Hitler's personal war chest is buried somewhere in the labyrinth of secret rooms and tunnels that are now sealed off, underground, beneath the resort complex.

Not long after Carl's murder/suicide, a small child became sick and died from influenza in one of the third floor rooms. That's when mysterious occurrences started to be documented. Visitors on the third floor have heard children giggling, running up and down hallways, and knocking on the doors even though no children were in the hotel at the time.

Carl's spirit has been seen prowling throughout the inn on several occasions. Neighbors have reported seeing a full apparition of a woman on the Monte Carlo Suite balcony when the resort was known to be vacant. Other reports include the smell of rotting flesh, objects moving on their own, light anomalies and ghostly sounds.

Ghosts are defined as the spirits of dead people that for some reason are "trapped" between this plane of existence and the next, often as a result of some tragedy or trauma. Do I believe the Brook Forest Inn is haunted? I don't know for sure, I've never actually stayed overnight there.

The Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society recently investigated the claimed paranormal events and concluded - "With the data obtained thus far there is something unusual (whether manmade, nature, or supernatural) occurring at the Brook Forest Inn."

Locals will tell you as well, "There's something strange going on up there at The Brook."

The inn is nestled in a lodgepole pine forest

Nazi gold may be buried in the catacomb 

Mysterious occurrences have been documented

After the murder, Carl returned to the livery

Neighbors have seen an apparition

The interior front lobby of the inn

There may be something supernatural

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Romance Novel - Colored Pencil Drawing

Value and color studies for the romance novel cover
An aspiring writer asked me if I would be interested in illustrating a book cover. He said he had just finished writing a novel and was working on getting it published. My first thought was I don't have time. I'm a production artist for a printing company by day but my nights are reserved for more fine artistic pursuits. I guess you could call me a "Sunday Painter". Time is precious but I was curious. I asked him what the book was about. He enthusiastically exclaimed, "It's a Romance Novel!"

There was a division between the two sides of my brain and they were battling it out. The logical, left side said, "You can't do it! It's too difficult! Don't leave your comfort zone!"

The cool, right side responded, "Chill, bro. We got this. Dude, try something exciting and new. It'll be fun."

After the dust cleared, I guess surfer guy won because I accepted the commission and asked for more specific details. I'm going to illustrate the cover of a Romance Novel.

Now fully committed to the project, I processed the author's instructions. "...a man and a woman on the beach. The man is standing facing out towards the ocean in only a swimsuit, exposing his back, staring at an oil rig far in the distance. The woman is on her knees, just to the left of him in beach attire, hugging the man's leg implying 'please don't go!' The man facing into the distance has none of his attention directed towards her, just the oil rig, a pistol in his right hand, not aimed, just in his hand."

The analytical left flipped out, "I told you! We can't do something like that! Are you crazy? That's impossible!"

The irrational right confidently replied, "Dude, relax. Work up some studies. We got this."

To be continued...
Prepatory line drawing for "The World is Yours"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Evergreen Lake Summer - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Evergreen Lake Summer" Colored Pencil

A cool mountain breeze offers some relief on a warm, summer day at Evergreen Lake. Puffy, white clouds race across the wide, open sky and because the lake is a reflection of the scene above, it translates as clear and blue.

A sparkling blue spruce stands guard over the weathered boardwalk and the green grass is starting to turn brown from the scorching sun. Summer is the busiest season at the lake as red-winged blackbirds are nesting, Canada geese are bathing and the cormorants, with wings outstretched, are drying out on the dam.

About 100 years ago the dam was built across Bear Creek just above the small town of Evergreen. A lush mountain meadow was flooded, creating the lake visible today. The purpose was two-fold, prevent the annual spring flooding in Bear Creek Canyon and provide a beautiful setting for outdoor recreation.

In the summer, the lake provides opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking and birding. Some of my favorite bird sightings have been White Pelicans, Kingfishers and Osprey. In the winter, the frozen lake is transformed into a rink featuring ice skating and hockey.

The spirit of Evergreen Lake pumps lifeblood into the surrounding area. There is a certain charm that circulates through the people during concerts, cook-offs, weddings and the other events that happen at the Lake House.

Evergreeners are very protective of their water, motor-less boats only, no swimming and a catch and release program. You can detect the pulse of the community just by visiting the lake. This crown jewel of the Denver Mountain Parks system is definitely the heart of Evergreen.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gore Range Thunderstorm - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Gore Range Thunderstorm" Colored Pencil

A slow moving thunderstorm passes over the jagged Gore Range. The dark mountains seem small compared to the huge, dramatic clouds. A thin slice of Green Mountain Reservoir sparkles in the distance and the foreground shimmers with broken tones of green and violet. It's a beautiful scene. The colors are toned down but the rain makes them clean and fresh. The edges are soft, they become lost in some places and reappear in others. The low key values express a somber mood but I'm happy trying to depict nature's weather effects.

We experienced that storm this summer on our way back home from Steamboat. During our approach to Silverthorne, that's the scene we beheld. Because Sunday afternoon traffic on I-70 out of the mountains is a nightmare, we detoured off the main highway. Our first stop was at the Green Mountain Dam, we went out in the rain and explored the interesting structure. Slowly, we made our way down the remote pathway that's situated along the western edge of the lake. We took some photos of deer, horses and an enormous raven. Next, we drove through the town of Heeney, which is really just a cluster of vacation homes and private residences. Shortly after that, we came upon a large black bear casually strolling down the road and, before we knew it, we were back to the main highway.

Despite our stall tactics, we still got stuck in traffic. It took us forever to get home. I guess that was alright because the time spent in the car allowed me to contemplate the images I'd seen that afternoon. I learned that if you're willing to get off of the beaten path and explore the unknown, you're often rewarded for taking the risk. It was a drive I'll never forget. Sometimes the side-trip proves to be more fascinating than the main one.