It is time to break my social media fast. I’ve been unplugged from social media and my work life since June 28. This was a much needed and highly recommended annual practice for me. We spent the first week of our break visiting family in Colorado.

I did a lot of artwork during the break. I thought the best way to ease back into my digital life and ministry would be to share a series of plein air sketches I did during our visit to Colorado. Each day I would set off in a new direction until I found something that inspired me. 

Enjoy these images and the stories they bear.

Pine Valley Ranch Park

This was the last painting I did, but it is my favorite. So, I’m starting here. This is the North Fork of the South Platte River flowing through Pine Valley Ranch Park in Pine, CO. It is just a few minutes from my sister-in-law’s house and a wonderful site for painting. This little waterfall captured my imagination as I trekked along the Narrow Gauge Trail.

You can see my set up below. This is a very compact easel that my Dad built for me based on James Gurney’s design. The sketchbook is very small (5×7) and makes for quick paintings in gouache (an opaque watercolor medium).

Dancing in the Dark

Aspen trees are amazing. Most of them stand straight and tall. Once in a while one of them decides to dance a wild jig. This one caught my eye as it danced in the dark gulley along the road near my sister-in-law’s house.

Papa’s Pond

This beautiful coy pond sits in another sister-in-law’s back yard. She lives in Denver. I call it papa’s pond because the little figurine next to the top of the waterfall contains my father-in-law’s ashes. He always joked that when he died he wanted us to bury him in a hole in the back yard. So, my sister-in-law and her husband dug a really fancy hole and honored his wishes.

Below is a pen and ink drawing of the same pond, drawn on another day.


This was the first painting I did that week. It is a little grove of Aspen in my sister-in-law’s back yard. I sat on her deck with my sketch book in my lap and did this very quickly. I love that one tree doing her own thing.

Below is a pen and ink of the same tree.

Staunton State Park

I end the tour with one final sketch. This is a view from the visitor’s center at Staunton State Park in Pine, CO. I had to fight some strong winds during this session, but it was still lots of fun.

Thanks for joining me on this little painting adventure. I hope you can find ways to unplug and recharge this summer.

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