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.
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
The Start, Day 1, Leaving Home May 15, 2013
Three years ago my wife Lyn and I did a trip around the world. As a way to do justice to an eight month back packing adventure and to clarify the story of our journey I am going to post paintings and sketch’s starting from the beginning of our journey back in Squamish, BC, Canada.
Lyn and I had been planning this great adventure for some time and so when we sold our house in Squamish we had a big garage sale and put the remainder of our belongings into storage. With that done, we loaded up the car with camping gear with the plan of driving across the United States to Boston as the first leg of our trip.
Here is the story of our trip in sketch’s and paintings. Driving down the Sea to Sky highway from Whistler on our way to Vancouver, BC. we spotted a mother black bear and her cubs. We thought this was a great omen of things to come and a great way to leave our mountain home.
Follow us a we go back through a trip that took us to 96 cities and 15 countries on our eight month journey.
A couple of years ago I was visiting the Unesco World Heritage site of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is an amazing place to explore. I was hoping to paint some watercolours of this place as soon as I got back. I did some sketches while I was there but soon realized that it was going to be a challenge to paint.
This week I have decided to give it a shot and see what I come up with. Painting moss covered, crumbling ruins requires some thought and a little risk taking. Getting bogged down in all the detail would be very easy to do. I have taken a more impressionistic approach to focus more on the mystery of this place.
I am not finished exploring the possibilities of this picture and so I will paint it over and post the results soon.
The title of my blog “The Paddle And The Paintbrush” is a reference to the adventure
spirit that was instilled in me from a young age. Along with painting in watercolour, I spent many summers working as a white water rafting guide in Western Canada. The picture above shows me guiding in Bow Canyon, on the Bow River in Alberta.
It’s been a few years since I hung up my paddle as it relates to river guiding but the spirit of adventure, exploring and travel lives on. My watercolour paintings and sketches are often scenes of Canadian wilderness, however I also love to paint my travel experiences and adventures world wide. What I hope to share with people is the beauty I see along the way with a special emphasis on Canada.
I grew up with a fascination and respect for a group of Canadian painters called the Group of Seven. They painted Canada in a style that show cased Canada as a rugged land of lakes, rivers, mountains and forest. This is a big part of what Canada still is and I would like to be a part of that tradition of painting this great land.
The idea behind my blog is to share with you my journey of painting in watercolour. When I couple this idea with my love of travel, hiking and fascinating places, I feel their is no end to this adventure. I would like to think that there is value in sharing thoughts and experiences and so I welcome your comments.
Thanks for stopping by!
Sketching at Lake McArthur, Yoho National Park,BC