“Lookey” she said. And in her palm was this seed pod. Dry as a bone now, it was once green and full of the energy we call “life”. Seeds safely encased in its sealed grasp waited to be released to fall to the ground.
Once free, the winds and rains dispersed them and pounded them beneath the topmost soil to await Spring. They will then sprout and enjoy summer's heat and sun…host the landings of myriad bugs, hear the voices & tromps of hikers and mountain bikers, the brushes of the foxes' tails, the screams of the hawks. They will drink the rains and sway in the breezes. And make new seed pods before they croak & die so the process can continue until who knows how long.
Isn't life a funny thing?
Amazing. Simply amazing.
Posted in Introspection, Plants, Sketches and Words with Questions, The Great Outdoors
Tagged Colorado National Monument, Drawing enjoyment, Introspection, Naturalist Studies, Plants, sketch, Sketch Therapy, Sketches, The Great Outdoors, watercolor, watercolor study, watercolors
I forgot to post this one back in February :/
So we stopped on the highway to Moab to take a few photos of a beautiful vista and other stuff. Just before I got back in the car I was looking at the steep canyon wall across the highway. All along the highway was a twenty foot high rubble pile of rocks that had calved off the cliff face.
At the top of the rubble pile in front of me was this rock with a hole worn clean through it. And through that little window was a rock about the size of your head sitting on the bank behind it. I thought “I wonder how many people have noticed that?”
It was up there where you really had to look to see it. That's the beauty of sketchin' stuff. You're always lookin' around. And you discover really cool things because of it. Since I started sketchbook journaling I've seen way more things than a lot of folk who aren't inclined to look around. We're only here for eighty years or so. There's a lot to see right in your own little world of travel no matter how far you go
Independent Monument, Colorado National Monument
We take a drive up into the Colorado National Monument every now and then because it's really a pretty area even though it is just a big canyon with tough, harsh terrain & the flora that goes with the territory. I suppose one would call it “high desert”. Some folk don't like that kind of landscape much except for a one-time vacation visit. I used to be one of those folk but not any more. I'm hooked on the shapes, the earthy colors, & the scale and age of the formations.
So today I decided to park on a roadside bench & sketch up this scene which is called “Independent Monument”. Every Independence Day a group of people climb to the top & put up an American Flag. Either Mother Nature or some sort of law or Park ordinance takes it down though I reckon because it wasn't there today. Come July 4th though it'll be flying again.
The rock in the canyon floor is Precambrian. Translated, that means prior to the “Cambrian Explosion of life” on Mother Earth. Look it up on Wikipedia. It's fascinating. Helps one understand their place in a time
Posted in Old Things, Sketches and Words, The Great Outdoors, Travel
Tagged Colorado National Monument, Old things, Plein air watercolors, sketch, Sketches, The Great Outdoors, Travel, watercolor, watercolor study
This one is a spread in my journal so you'll need to click it to get a good look at it
While out and about in the car as a passenger, I have ample opportunities for looking up. Out west the skies are big and clouds are always interesting when present.
I don't look at them so much to find familiar shapes as to just admire their enormity and coloration. Some single bodies stretch out for many miles and rise thousands of feet from their base level.
It's pretty difficult to capture them accurately in watercolor other than the shapes. That has a lot to do with the paper too…as do all things watercolor. But it's all about capturing a feeling anyway…and becoming immersed in one's surroundings…not so much about accurate rendering of the subject.
But I digress,
Clouds are free to go where the winds take them, adjusting and adapting their shapes to the conditions of the day. They seem content to do that…designed for it in fact. I take a lesson from clouds. Be free, be happy, adapt and change as required by the winds of life. One can't see the winds but they are there.
Clouds don't blow back. I tend to be happier when I don't either
I've Been Workin' on the Railroad
This one is a spread in my journal so you'll need to click it to get a good look at it
Actually I've been sketchin' on the railroad while Deni took photos on the railroad. And while we weren't workin', it occurred to me just how much work went into building the railroad. And it was backbreaking, monotonous, seemingly never-ending work I bet.
Take this sketch for instance. It's a joint where two rails are spliced together and spiked down to a wooden timber running perpendicular to the rails. Two parallel runs of rails 4'-8-1/2″ apart makes a railroad track. Since the 1940's, U.S. Rail sections have been standardized at 78' long. At every joint where two 78' long rails butt into one another, you will find this joining hardware. All carefully bolted and spiked into place ALL THE WAY ACROSS AMERICA and going every-which-away just about everywhere else in the world.
All that work done by hand with hand tools by & large.
I bet you appreciate your own job a little more now huh? We've got it made actually. We're quite soft compared to our ancestors
Posted in Introspection, Objects, Old Things, Sketches and Words, Sketches and Words with Questions, Stuff I find myself doing
Tagged Introspection, Objects, Old things, Plein air watercolors, sketch, Sketches, The Great Outdoors, watercolor, watercolor study, watercolors
On a trip to Moab we decided to go off the beaten path of I-70 and visit the abandoned spot in the landscape known as Cisco…uh, Utah.
I've lived out West for five years now and Deni informed me today that Cisco…and Moab…are both in Utah…not Colorado. Mere details. I do know where I live at least. Colorado.
Anyway, there are numerous little abandoned patches of human activity out here. And they are great sketch journaling opportunities…even painting ideas.
Even when you only have a minute you can catch a scene that appeals to you…and then get back on the road This little group of buildings was interesting to me…the way they were placed. They looked lonesome.
Posted in Architecture, Old Things, Sketches and Words, The Great Outdoors, Travel
Tagged Architecture, Colorado, Drawing enjoyment, Landscapes, Loose sketching, Old things, sketch, Sketch Therapy, Sketches, The Great Outdoors, Travel, watercolor, watercolors
We took a ride up to the Grand Mesa and walked around the lakes again. Every season provides new observations and scenes of beauty. The sun was low so there were lots of wonderful shadows falling on the snow. These aspens were sort of glowing on the hillside by the path so I couldn't resist making a painting of them.
I have sketches in the works too lest you think I'm only gonna put paintings here on Idle Minutes
This one is available for purchase at eBay for those who might be interested…
Bid on Colorado Winter Aspens here
Posted in Available for Purchase, Paintings, Plants, Sketches and Words, The Great Outdoors, Travel
Tagged Colorado, Landscapes, Paintings, Plants, Plein air watercolors, The Great Outdoors, watercolor, watercolor painting, watercolors
We took a walk not long ago down by the Colorado River. There are little streams that feed it as well as larger rivers. The little meadow streams often have River Willows along the banks that are vibrantly colored in the winter. Pinks, yellows, burgundy and oranges reflect off their bare branches when the light is low and late in the day. The visual effect is that of repeated soft arches of these colors due to how the branches grow from the ground much like a bush. With snow around them they are really very quiet, peaceful and calming.
I always enjoy looking at the stretches of stream where they are present. I thought perhaps you would too
View to the other bank, Colorado River, Grand Junction, Colorado ~ Botanical Gardens Trail. Cold and breezy by the water!
Posted in Sketches and Words, The Great Outdoors, Travel
Tagged Colorado, Drawing enjoyment, Landscapes, Loose sketching, Naturalist Studies, Plein air watercolors, sketch, Sketch Therapy, Sketches, The Great Outdoors, Travel
AquaBord is a rigid substrate made specifically for watercolor painting. This is the first time I've used it and I was both pleased and frustrated. The surface does indeed absorb the paint but not exactly the same way as watercolor paper. It also has a grainy texture to it that shows noticeably in the finished painting. While that is nice for painting rocks, still water would look a bit odd I think…at least close up.
One advantage I suppose is that one can lift color very easily. For me, too easily. I'm not certain I will venture into this as a medium of choice for watercolor but it was fun to experiment with it. I am so used to how watercolor paper behaves. So, I can't see the real advantage in using this board, other than it provides a rigid surface for the painting. Thus allowing framing without glass.
It did cause me to wonder about the notion of mounting watercolor paper paintings on Masonite however. And that is likely what I will experiment with next
More typical Idle Minutes sketchy stuff is on the way. So don't fear that I've wandered away from the norm dear reader. Sometimes I like to pass along other stuff too