On an early-autumn evening, another weather system entombed the valley in blizzard conditions. The precipitation poured down out of the dark sky in a waterfall of huge, white flakes that accumulated indiscriminately onto all exterior surfaces.
A torturous wind whipped down through the meadow, making the intolerable matters much worse. The temperatures crashed to well below freezing and crystallized the foothills into a frozen land of enchantment.
By the next morning, the Rocky Mountains were buried in deep snow while radiating beauty beyond comprehension. Overcast early, the normally rich-hued forest was pared down to black and white.
Ascending the mountain through knee-deep powder was a breath-taking, heart-pounding, sweat-breaking struggle. Upon reaching the summit, blue skies burst through the last remnants of soft cloud cover exposing the storms gorgeous aftermath.
Deep inside the woodland, unavoidable confusion was defined by a wintry mix of strong shadows and filtered sunlight. As the lodgepole pine shook free from their white robes, I got soaked by a cold shower.
From a secluded clearing on the steep hillside, an apparition of gray peaks began to reappear in the vast expanse. The most striking thing about being in the wilderness after a storm is the perfect stillness that exudes an eerie calm.
Going out on a day like that may seem crazy but if I’m going to create honest expressions of the local landscape with pencil and paper, I feel like I have to experience everything the mountains have to offer during the good weather and bad.
While appraising my artwork one day, my college art professor told me that in order to paint the mountains properly, you have to live in the mountains. I took his advice to heart and moved to Colorado, searching for a more personal way to express my passion for the American West.
I’ve lived in the mountains for 30 years now where I’m out in the field every single day no matter what because I want to better understand how snow drapes over the high summits, how rivers shape the lush meadows and how sunlight streams through the deep forests.
|A frozen land|
|Buried in deep snow|
|Inside the woodland|
|The wilderness after a storm|
|Good weather and bad|
|A gorgeous aftermath|
|The foothills were crystalized|
|Strong shadows and filtered sunlight|
|An eerie calm|
|Blue skies burst through|
|The gray peaks reappear|
|A passion for the west|