Hiking To and Sketching At Ice Lake

A few years ago (5?) I was told to check out Ice Lake and to take a jaunt over to the nearby Island Lake if I get up there. Well, I finally made it.¬†Yesterday morning I headed up into the mountains for a bit of day hiking. It’s a bit of a climb, but oh-so worth it!

Here’s me capturing the view from my lunch spot:

It was pretty chilly and my hands get cold pretty easily, but I needed my right hand free for dexterity…

I’m pretty happy with the results. Taking more time certainly helps, and I tried some new tools (like a bigger brush and gator board for backing).

Working in the Studio

After building my easel and setting up a studio space, I didn’t get around to working in it for a couple of weeks. But this morning I jumped up when the alarm went off and headed out with coffee mug in hand.

Since I was working with watercolor pencils and had to wait for each layer to dry I bounced between two different projects.

Here’s the watercolor on the easel:

While it’s drying, I cut down a larger sheet of paper and then centered my Tree of Life drawing inside it and taped it to the window with the sun shining directly on it. Sometimes, having a free lightbox is just an amazing convenience!

And here it is once I finished transferring it to the larger paper:

Good progress made before heading off to work. I call that a creative success!

Studio Creating

One of the perks of moving out of the RV into an apartment was the chance for me to set up a studio space. I really lucked out with the new place, since it not only has an un-used bedroom but also a shop space with plenty of empty cabinets on the walls!

Here’s the original set-up:

And the current configuration, with my “studio” growing in the corner.

After much debate and research I decided to build an easel instead of purchasing one. This would give me a sturdier, more adjustable product for only a slightly greater cost. Here’s most of the components laid out, waiting to be attached together:

And here’s the completed product, ready to go:

I really should stain or seal it, but I’d rather be painting on the easel, rather then the easel itself!

Here are the plans that I used, if you’re interested in one for yourself. It cost me more than the $15 mentioned in that post, but I don’t think it was much more than $30. There are a lot of different designs and plans out there, but the back leg on this one folds in so it will store fairly flat and that convenience may be pretty nice in the future!

Here is the first work that I did on it…

My One-Sheet Sketchbook

Thought I’d share a few more details about my current one-sheet sketchbook. It’s a single sheet of watercolor paper that I’ve cut into a zig-zag shape and folded down. This means that I can unfold it in sections, up to 4 panels at a time for a long landscape (or vertical) image. It also folds up pretty compactly so I can Continue reading My One-Sheet Sketchbook

Accordion Folded Durango Sketches

I’ve really been enjoying the fall colors here in Durango, Colorado. Trying to make the most of it, I’ve been going out on my lunch break and quickly sketching scenes from around town in ink and watercolor.

Instead of carrying a pad of paper with me I followed Mark’s advice for making a sketchbook with me, a single piece of watercolor paper cut and folded into a long, accordion notebook. Here’s my current journal, all laid out:

It’s been nice to have a good-quality, heavy watercolor paper in my sketchbook. This has allowed me to really throw down a lot of water quickly – an important ability when I have no more than 30 minutes to get everything finished.

I’ve taken these opportunities to work on both my sketching abilities and to play with the watercolors, something that I’ve always been a little timid with.

This tree caught my attention the first time I saw it, and it was an easy decision to portray it when I first started sketching. It’s a tall tree and I probably should have unfolded another “page” to capture it more accurately, but I love the colors!

This old powerhouse is now a science museum. I haven’t been inside, yet, but it’s definitely on the list of places to visit!

This church is just on the the other side of the block from one of my favorite coffee shops, so I see it all the time. The architecture jumped out at me and when deciding where to sketch it quickly came to mind as a great option. I sat across the street on a bench to capture it.

I was aiming for a nearby section of trail but the spitting rain drove me inside. I snagged the last seat in Durango Coffee and sipped my java while drawing the bar and patrons at this downtown cafe. It was a lot of fun to have the extra space afforded by the additional panels, and I expect to return and fill in the other “page” on another day.

Here’s the river trail that I was aiming for when I ended up at Durango Coffee above. This view of the path through the trees beside the river came out much more abstract that intended, but I really like the deviation from my normal, detail-oriented approach!

Sketching the Denver Skyline

Ashley had a week-long training in Denver, a work-paid rental car and hotel room, and I had nothing pressing going on… so we spent a week in Denver! It was a great opportunity to explore a city without the pressures of finding parking and squeezing an RV around traffic and was generally relaxing.

Here’s the view from our 12th floor balcony, looking downtown.

Leaving Savannah, GA

After a busy week with family on vacation in Savannah, GA, it was time to head back home to Durango, CO. In a three-phase journey, the first leg was driving to catch a plane in Atlanta. Here’s how the view looked from the back-seat:

 

Better than a back seat driver, right?!

Only three pages left in my last mini sketchbook…

Family Vacation in Savannah, GA

For a few years now we’ve talked about having a family get-together of some sort. This year we went ahead and reserved a house in Savannah, Georgia. With a few month’s notice and everyone’s buy-in, the family gathering finally happened. It was certainly nice to get together without the event of a funeral or wedding.

Here are some of the sights from the week: Continue reading Family Vacation in Savannah, GA