Chicago Basin - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Chicago Basin" Colored Pencil

It's a warm day in Colorado's Front Range where a dense thicket of sharp willows forms an almost impassable barrier. You must search for a narrow passageway that leads into the heart of this spectacular wilderness. At the top of Chicago Basin, dark evergreens and a gigantic boulder mark a natural gateway to the incomparable Chicago Lakes. Here, the tundra landscape opens up to a panorama of expansive, gray peaks.

The pair of icy-blue ponds are stair-stepped remnants of an ancient glacier that shaped this high valley thousands of years ago. Today, the deep cirque is lush with golden grass and colorful wildflowers. Long, transparent shadows creep down the hillside defining forms in the rugged terrain while steep rock walls enclose the area with a sense of isolation and solitude.

Harmless, wispy clouds drift down over the foothills and just beyond the sheer headwall, Mount Evans pierces the wide open sky. Warm rays of sunshine are neutralized by an ever-present breeze of cool air. Reddish-violet in the morning light, the mountain is still flecked with white snow. After such a long, hard winter, I'm looking forward to summertime in the Rockies.


  1. Awesome picture and beautiful words. Been awhile since we've been that direction but it is truly a beautiful part of our country. We'll be in Park City come July....sorta near by.

    1. Thanks Sandy, it's one of my favorite drawings and one of my favorite places in Colorado. I'm looking forward to getting back up there this summer. We're planning to visit Salt Lake City this June.

  2. Hi Dan, I would never have believed this could be produced from humble pencils, it looks like a painting to me... and I really want to touch those trees, and roll in the grass.

    1. Thanks Ida, I'm glad you liked it. I tried to pour my heart into the humble drawing and express how I felt about the place. If it made you have those feelings, I guess it's a successful piece of art.

  3. Hi Dan! I checked to see if you were taking part in the 2014 April blog challenge and sorry to see that you're not. This is a beautiful coloured pencil picture of Nature in all her glory - who is the artist? You perhaps?
    I was in the US up until recently - ice was still about in NJ; snow on the Grand Canyon tips; summer in Fran Francisco ..
    All best wishes,
    Garden of Eden Blog

    1. Yes Susan, my drawing. I try and work whenever I have the chance. I'm glad you had a good visit to the USA. I've been to the Grand Canyon during a snowstorm, it's awesome. Also, one of my favorite cities is San Francisco. A birder's and runner's paradise. Kind of expensive though.


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