These ink sketches were made over the summers of 2017 and 2018 at our family’s cabin near Westcliffe Colorado. These were all constructed basically the same way. I walked around until I saw something I liked. Then I would do a quick pencil sketch or even better just an ink sketch, work in some basic shapes and note some details, snap a picture (to jog memory later) and just about the time I got tired of sitting (or standing) in one place I would take the drawings to the studio.
Summer of 2017 was dry, Summer of 2018 was even drier, the wild flowers, grasses and weeds took on an aggressive, desperate exuberance. The clouds were iridescent in the afternoons and the cloudless mornings presented a sky that rang with a persistent clarity that took your breath away. If you’ve been to the Wet Mountain Valley you know what I mean.
My choice of subjects was probably not what you would expect in a picturesque Rocky Mountain valley. In fact most are pretty pedestrian. The things that caught my attention that summer were the hay fields stretching to the horizon, distant barns, curious cows, rain coming in, fence row perspectives, clouds like galleons loading up and scooting out over the plains, sun through the trees and the complex path of a creek.
I was making pictures, not creating mementos of dramatic landscape. I don’t like the mawkish sentimentality of rustic western scenes or to be patronized with photo realism (often painted from photos) unless it is a photo. If you want landscape drama you can come to Westcliffe and look around for yourself.
I used pencil and ink (dip pen and Sailor fountain pen with “Sailor Black Ink” and Staedtler pigment liner) on a 9x12in. LEUCHTTURM drawing pad or 12×16½in. smooth Holbein watercolor paper.