Potomac River - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Potomac River" Colored Pencil

It is a sultry, summer evening in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Potomac River drifts wearily through the West Virginia wilderness. Situated here, at the confluence with the Shenandoah, Harper’s Ferry is a historical village associated with Southern succession and the Civil War.

Squeezed into a spectacular gorge, the patriotic waterway encourages a slower pace notwithstanding its proximity to the bustle of big city life. The jungle environment is bursting with flowers and foliage that seem to be thriving despite the searing heat and tremendous thunderstorms.

An old railroad bridge, lush green hills and a purple sky are reflected faithfully across the surface of shallow water. The sharpest contrast occurs below the train trestle where the drawing’s darkest shadows are juxtaposed next to the sunniest highlights, creating some drama in the otherwise serene setting.

Patches of color close in value are paired with soft gradients that do not necessarily describe form but become design elements that unify the whole. A tapestry of cheerful pigment fills an abstract arrangement of organic shapes that when fused together give the impression of a bucolic scene.

Finally a dark silhouette of foreground vegetation frames the composition, creating a window into an unfamiliar, eastern landscape. While walking down the Appalachian Trail, contemplating a countryside so different from home, the conclusion must be that the beauty discovered in this place is just as divine as that found on the western frontier.


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