Boston. MA. May 31, 2013
Arriving in Boston from Vancouver, Canada by car was the kick off point for our journey around the world. We had a week to explore the Boston area before flying to Quito, Ecuador. We stayed with family in Lincoln County which is very close to where the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War took place on April 19th, 1775.
Walking around Lincoln, Concord and Boston I couldn’t help but feel the presence of early American history. After spending a day in Boston learning about the Freedom Trail we also visited Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau lived in a small cabin from 1845 to 1847.
There is now a replica of his cabin very close to the original site. I have painted a small watercolor of this cabin with out the paved paths and roadway that is nearby. I like to imagine that in his day this cabin was a little more secluded and so I have tried to paint it more in the spirit of what I think it may have been.
I also painted a watercolor of the Old State House which was built in 1713. It is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. It stands out in that it is surrounded by modern day high rise buildings and the contrast of this made for an interesting composition. I added five birds to the picture in honor of the Boston Massacre which happened very close to this building in 1770.
I look forward to our return to Boston after our trip as there is so much more to see. Our next stop along the way is Quito, Ecuador.
Built in 1713, The Old State House is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States.
17th Century Window looking out at Paul Revere’s House
Henry David Thoreau’s Cabin at Walden Pond
Watercolor and Pen sketch of a bronze sculpture, Make Way For The Ducklings by Nancy Schon. Sold.
Circus World, Baraboo, Wisconsin. May 28, 2013
Having seen the movie “Water for Elephants” we were curious to stop at Circus World in Baraboo, to learn more about the history of the circus in America.
In 1884 the Ringling Brothers began their first tour as a circus and during the winter months Baraboo was their headquarters. The museum is located on the land owned by the Ringling Brothers and is called “Ringlingville”. Their museum features artifacts and exhibits, including some of the movie set props from the movie Water For Elephants.
We spent the afternoon at Circus World and went to a small circus show at the hippodrome which is a permanent big top which houses the daily circus and magic shows. I found visiting circus world was a look back at a by gone era in America and to illustrate this article I thought that the one artifact that really struck me was of an old pair of clown shoes. I have also included a sketch of the little circus show that they put on daily.
Badlands National Park and The Corn Palace May 26, 2013
Camping at Badlands National Park was a serene experience. It was very quiet with only the sound of the wind and birds. We got up early and explored a couple of the short scenic trails in the park.
We didn’t see a lot of wild life however we had an opportunity to get very close to a rabbit that was staying close to this wooden walk way that he could easily hide under for safety. I found that the rabbit made a good subject for a watercolor study in that it represented life in what appears to be a very harsh environment.
The other three sketches are pen and ink drawings with watercolor washes. I drew them very quickly. The idea is to make quick impression studies. Sometimes over thinking gets in the way of an intuitive process.
Driving across South Dakota we visited the Devils Tower National Monument before we went to the Badlands and then we stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. The Mitchell Corn Palace is a folk art wonder and was first built in 1892 to show case the rich soil of South Dakota and encourage people to settle in the area. When you are driving across the United States it is nice to break up the drive with little side trips like this. Our next little adventure takes us to Baraboo, Wisconsin which is home to the Circus World Museum.
Driving To Badlands National Park, South Dakota May 24, 2013
This morning we were camped at Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. It was very cold and so we didn’t waste any time packing up. We still had a little more to see before heading east to South Dakota.
Our first stop driving along the Grand Loop was Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River heading towards the north east entrance. It was near Tower Fall that we spotted the bear that I illustrated above.
The bear was on a mission to go some where and so I have tried to give this picture a sense of movement by using line, brush stroke and rhythm.
The watercolor painting of Upper Falls, Yellowstone River was a study done with only red, yellow and blue. Mixing all of your colors from just three colors is a little more work but the resulting picture will have more harmony. I am starting to paint more with a limited palette as I feel that this will improve my work.
As we headed east on Hwy 90 into Badlands National Park the landscape changed to this exotic mix of grass land with sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires. The cattle grazing in this landscape make for an interesting composition in the third picture. I added black pen to this watercolor as I felt the picture needed something to help with the starkness of the black cattle.
Mountain Bluebird, Yellowstone National Park Watercolor
Breakfast at Colter Bay Campsite
Camping at Colter Bay, WY. May 23, 2013
For most of the day we were driving around the northern part of Yellowstone National Park near Mamoth Springs. There is so much to see in the park that you really could use a week just to cover the main sights. That afternoon we headed south to Grand Teton National Park which is just ten miles south of the Yellowstone southern park border.
My first view of the forty mile long Teton Range was breath taking. I thought that we might see some interesting and beautiful places on this first leg of our journey to Boston but this was amazing.
The watercolor painting I have done of the Mountain Bluebird was painted from a photograph that Lyn took. We found that these birds were elusive and it was difficult to just get a good photo let alone sketch this bird from real life. The sketch of our campsite is typical of my loose sketch book style. This style of loose drawing is a lot of fun and offers a nice change from doing a more formal watercolor.
Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park
Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
West Yellowstone, WY, USA May 22,2013
As we drove in from the west side of Yellowstone National Park, we passed Tilted Lake and encountered our first bison. The bison are grazing near the road and don’t pay too much attention to you.
That night we camped at Madison Campground at 6,800 ft. We set up camp early and drove to Lower, Midway and Upper Geyser Basins. The board walks offer a chance to get close to the geysers and feel their heat and steam.
From am artistic point of view I was amazed by the variation in colors. I found that painting some of the thermals offered the opportunity to work with some colors that I don’t always see painting the Canadian landscape. Some of the thermal pools have this beautiful turquoise color a long with bright oranges and violet.
As a final thought for today I have found that so far this trip has offered a lot of different potential scenes for me to paint and sketch. I think it is good to try painting subject matter that is new or out side of my comfort zone. The sketch of Old Faithful was my first attempt at painting a geyser.
Hoodoo’s at Writing-on-Stone, Watercolour
Mule Deer Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, Watercolour and pencil
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park May 19, 2013
Leaving Banff, Alberta; we drove to Calgary and then south to Milk River, which is very close to the US. border and Montana. This would be our last stop in Canada before heading south to Yellow Stone National Park.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is a small nature preserve (18 sq. km.) that straddles the Milk River. It contains the greatest concentration of rock art on the North American Great Plains. We spent the night camped here near the river. The next morning I was up early to paint and managed to do a couple of good sketches. The Mule Deer that live in the camp ground make easy subjects as they allow you to get reasonably close.
I was also fascinated by the sand stone formations called “Hoodoo’s” that make an interesting subject to paint and sketch. Some of these formations look like other worldly creatures. The Blackfoot Peoples considered this place very sacred and were probably the ones who created many of the rock carvings and paintings.
The Castle in the Rockies, Banff. May 18th, 2013
We were back on the trans Canada Highway heading east to Banff, Alberta today. Lyn and I lived in Banff from 2000 to 2004 and so as we are driving along past so many familiar places it was easy to reminisce about our experiences.
The title of today’s blog is a reference to The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel that was built in the 19th century as one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. It is nestled at the foot of Sulfur Mountain very close to the natural sulfur hot springs and a short walk from downtown Banff. The hotel was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was advertised as an international tourist resort.
The watercolor sketch of the Banff Springs Hotel was done on location at a Place called “Surprise Corner” on Tunnel Mountain Drive. It offers an excellent view of Sulfur Mountain and the hotel. The other two sketches are of Cascade Mountain and The Sawback Range. The sketch of Cascade Mountain is a less typical view and is usually seen in photo’s as the back ground to a picture of Banff Avenue. “Rain Storm over the Sawback Range” was also painted on location just west of Banff on the 1A Highway that is a great alternative road to take if you want to go to Lake Louise from Banff.
Cascade Mountain, Banff, Canada
The Sawback Range in Banff National Park, Canada
Road side stop near Revelstoke.
Looking up stream from the Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park
Driving the Trans Canada Highway May 17, 2013
The first real day of travel took us from Richmond, BC. to Revelstoke, BC. along the Trans Canada Highway. It felt a bit surreal leaving Richmond and traveling east knowing that if we continued to travel east we would be home again in Vancouver in eight months time.
After driving all morning we stopped in the afternoon at the town of Salmon Arm. We visited the cemetery there to pay our respects to Lyn’s grandparents and great grandmother. For us it seemed appropriate to start the trip by paying our respects and thanking them for setting the ground work for the life we lead today.
Our first night of the trip was spent camping in Revelstoke at the KOA camp ground.
Richmond, BC., Canada May 16, 2013
Having left our mountain home in Squamish, BC. we drove down to Richmond, BC., just outside of Vancouver near the Frazer River. We spent a couple of days here to make sure that we had everything we needed for the long trip ahead.
We had some time on our hands and so we took advantage of the opportunity to be tourists in our own back yard. We went to the nearby fishing village of Steveston where I did some sketches of the water front. Steveston is known for its commercial fishing port and was historically a salmon canning port.