Cult of the Sun - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Cult of the Sun" Colored Pencil

Warm, autumnal sunshine permeates the interior of Poudre Canyon, illuminating a kaleidoscope of dazzling colors. The splendid scene is set ablaze with an array of fiery tones that are barely balanced by the rolling, blue river.

Sturdy stands of yellow cottonwood brace both sides of the composition as patches of gray-green define their leafy profile. A line of bushes arcs into the middle ground, graduating in size, shape and color where its termination is reflected on the creek’s surface.

The rugged shallows are littered with polished stones of slate and orange while some of the bigger boulders, protruding from the deeper channel, create whitewater waves. Across the way, a pile of rubble cascades down to the far shoreline.

The steep slope is covered by an astonishing blanket of interwoven flecks of pure color that are blended by the observer’s eye. Clinging to this incredible hillside tapestry are scattered clusters of burning brush and rocky outcrops.

Set upon the crest of this high ridge is a naturally carved temple complex of sculpted columns, turrets, spires and pinnacles. The broad face of the main edifice is bleached by bright sunshine creating rigid, violet shadows.

This monumental landscape, gouged into the mountains, evokes a certain enchantment that inspires the visitor to search for more. The sense of wonder and amazement is overwhelming to the point of spiritualism.

For thousands of years the comforting, cyclical predictability of day, night, seasons and years has cast a spell over impressionable human beings. Some ancient religions were based on such ideology but many of their beliefs have been lost over time.

The Cult of the Sun would have faithfully worshiped this ethereal kingdom that is so saturated in divine purity. This unassuming bend in the gorge is eternally blessed to be flooded by two of the most powerful, life-giving forces on earth - sunlight and water.


  1. Dear Dan
    Thank you for this stunning rendition of desert canyons. It brings back fond memories of a hike up a canyon near Cottonwood Arizona.
    Yours sincerely,
    Linda Hill

    1. Thanks so much! I would love to go down to Arizona and do some hiking there some day. It must be a beautiful state.
      Thanks, Dan

  2. Dan, this is amazingly beautiful! Thank you for your work. I often revisit your section in the "Landscapes in Colored Pencil" book, too. Best, Susan Schneeberger

    1. Thank you. It's always nice to receive positive comments about my work. I really appreciate it and I wish you all the best luck. Thanks, Dan.


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