Waiting for water to boil – Jetboil stove sketch

While backpacking in the Upper Yosemite Valley, I was sitting and waiting for water to boil (at least with the Jetboil’s lid on you can’t actually watch!) It made sense to sit and draw the stove itself (at least to me) so that’s what I did. This workhorse was purchased about 10 years ago and has been going strong ever since!

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Trees and Shadows

When in the National Parks, it’s not always the grand vistas that capture my interest. Often, the small details invite me to come closer, to explore in more detail. Though you wouldn’t know it if I didn’t tell you, this is almost Yosemite. The RV was parked just outside of the park (free camping, woohoo!) and one afternoon the sun created these slashing shadows from the trees and it caught my attention. As is always the case when trying to capture natural light, I had to work fast, since the shadows were changing by the moment!

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Charcoal drawing of trees casting shadows in the forest

Wizard Island in Crater Lake

After exploring Yosemite, we also visited Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. It was also snowed in, so Rim Drive was closed. It was really cool to walk in the shoveled-out 12′ deep paths from parking area to visitor center, and the view from the edge of the peak down to the lake was amazing!

I didn’t waste any time sketching out Wizard Island, since it quickly gets chilly sitting in the snow. And a steaming hot chocolate afterward certainly helped to thaw out my stiff fingers. 😀

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Charcoal drawing of Wizard Island in Crater Lake National Park
Wizard Island, Crater Lake National Park

Half-Dome sketch in Yosemite

While in Yosemite, we took an overnight backpacking trip up into Little Yosemite Valley. Half-Dome wasn’t open yet, since it was still snowed in. That was fabulous, as it felt that we had the whole valley to ourselves. Though we didn’t make it up to the top of Half-Dome, we did hike up to the snow line. While there, I sat and enjoyed the view, taking the opportunity to sketch Half-Dome from the north side.

Matthew sketching Half Dome

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Charcoal drawing of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Valley charcoal sketch

It seems like every National Park has an “Inspiration Point” somewhere along the trails. And from that point you can see an iconic view.

Yosemite was no different and the view was truly stunning, overlooking Yosemite Valley itself. It was a wonderful place to stop on the way into the valley, enjoy a short hike up to the point itself, and enjoy lunch before capturing the view in a charcoal sketch.

You can see El Cap on the left, Half-Dome in the middle, and Bridal Falls toward the bottom right. What a fabulous experience!

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Charcoal drawing of Yosemite Valley in the National Park
Yosemite Valley

Abstract Watercolor Tree with Einstein Quote

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
Einstein

After the Isaac Newton quote in a tree, I wanted to try something a bit different. This tree pushes the process much further, creating the entire image organically rather than painting directly and then altering it a bit. Have to say, I like how it turned out.

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abstract-ish watercolor painting of tree with quote

Rose with Emma Goldman quote

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
~ Emma Goldman

After liking the heart so much and running across this quote in my list, I couldn’t help myself from painting this rose. I love having fresh flowers in the RV – they really brighten up any space!

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watercolor painting of rose with quote

Watercolor Heart with Seneca Quote

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I’ve always been a list maker and a collector. While playing with my watercolors it only made sense (at least in my head) to combine a drawing with a quote that I’ve saved in one of my lists.

Sometimes it’s easier to start with a quote and create the image that comes to mind. In this case I painted a heart and found an appropriate quote.

Biker in Motion

Playing with my watercolors has been fun, capturing my RV and beloved mountains. I wanted to push a little further, however, to work on a more involved image. What better challenge than one of my most common (and favorite) sights – Ashley riding her bicycle. For the most part, I am quite pleased with the results, though working with a fluid medium in an uncontrolled manner did mean that Ashley appears to be riding with an antenna.