Posts Tagged ‘hiking’



October 12, 2011

This past weekend I joined up with about 20 other people to hike the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North Rim. I brought along my sketchbook with the hopes of doing a few sketches to remember the experience by and came back with more than I expected.

As I’ve stated before, I have never been very comfortable with using color. This past year it has been my goal to work with it more, and I’ve made a few attempts with watercolor that came out okay, but I’m still having a tough time. One of the challenges is that I am usually drawing on the go: in restaurants, museums, on buses, airplanes, or at some kind of festival. It gets real tricky trying to do watercolors in these settings, especially since I am pretty awkward with it to begin with.

So this weekend I tried something different. A couple months ago a co-worker randomly interofficed a small set of German colored pencils to me, so I brought them on the trip and took a bold step into the world of color.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

These aren’t masterpieces by any standard, but they are definitely important drawings for me. I’ve written before about lightbulb drawings–the products of moments when I somehow become enlightened by an idea and reach a new skill level. These drawings represent the time I found my way into working with color.

The most important drawing from the weekend is this one that I did from the deck of the North Rim Lodge.


Not only is it in color, but it’s also a landscape, which is something else I struggle with. This is probably one of the hardest sketches I’ve ever done. The challenge was figuring out how to take a very complicated landscape and simplify it to fit within the limitations of time, color, and paper size, but also still make it recognizable for what it was. I actually started and abandoned two other sketches before I finally produced this one.

The whole weekend was pretty great. I did a ton of hiking, met a bunch of cool people, and had some fun times around the campfire. But coming home with these drawings ensured that it will be unforgettable.


Lost and Found

July 22, 2011

A couple months ago my hiking club did a tough climb at Finger Rock in Tucson. It was a pretty small group and we all got pretty spread out on the trail. A couple of the women on the hike actually went down the wrong side and ended up getting very very lost.

Our fearless leader, Charles, found out that they were lost and spent several hours standing on a rock halfway up the mountain, in the heat, with no water, trying to direct them back onto the trail via cell phone.

While the three of them sweated it out on the mountain, I spent the evening in the parking lot, hanging out with two other hikers from the group. We had a good old time relaxing in cozy lawn chairs, replenishing our energy, and talking until nightfall. I did this sketch of Rob, laying on the pavement, and enjoying the fact that he was not lost.

The other three finally made it down safely and we all lived happily ever after. But we never did make it to our traditional post hike dinner.


Sketching vs Hiking

June 29, 2011

I am way into hiking and yet I have very few hiking-related sketches. Since I use my sketchbooks as a means to document the moments in my life, it saddens me that a huge part of it gets left out.

The problem is that hiking and sketching do not mix. For one thing, it’s just inconvenient to lug my sketchbook and tools up a mountain or down into a canyon. And for another, my hands don’t seem to work after a few hours of intense activity.

I mean, yeah they work well enough for me to unscrew the lid from my water or bring a sandwich to my mouth. But when it comes to smaller, more detailed movements, like sketching, it just doesn’t go well. It’s as though I can only operate in one mode at a time. Either it’s the high intensity, full body activity of hiking, or the mellow yet precise act of drawing. Switching back and forth rarely yields good results.

But perhaps I just need practice. A couple months ago I lugged my sketchbook up to the top of Mt. Wilson in Sedona and managed to draw this gnarly tree. I kind of like it, though I wish I wouldn’t have done such a poor job on the shading at the base.