Monday, July 31, 2006

Sketching in the southwestern states of the USA - what happened next....

Three road trips across SW States and a stay in Southern California
Top row: (left) San Clemente (right) Sand Bank Mountains
Bottom row: (left) Point Lobos (right) Ventura

It's raining here in southern California on the last day of my trip so I thought I might try and do something really sensible(!) and pull together a list of the blog posts that I need to start creating when I get home to London (end of this week) and back to my computer/scanner/software/etc.

As has been correctly surmised already, trying to post on the road has proved to be well nigh impossible. On the couple of days I've actually had access to a computer I've also had lots of other practical trip related matters to sort out.

So - by way of a tempter - here's a summary of my trip to the south western states of the USA. I'll insert all the blog post links to this summary as I post the entry for each day.

The preliminary indications of some blog post titles are given below - along with some brief descriptions of the journey and some indications of images to come! As you can see there are quite a few sketches and I've very nearly filled my new Moleskine.

[1 October 2006: This blog entry has now been updated to include the final titles and posts relating to this trip and associated hyperlinks - plus a sample of images from the trip.]

A short stay and a pastels workshop in Southern California

I visited my friend Louise - she and her husband showed me the sights and then Louise and I took a weekend pastels workshop in San Clemente
Road Trip #1 - Santee, Southern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico via Tombstone, Arizona

This trip started because my friends and I decided to go to the Annual Exhibition of the Coloured Pencil Society of America.  The trip to get there from Southern California took two long days.
  • Tuesday 18th July "Breakfast in Yuma" and "Gordon drives Dome Valley with the boss" - Day 1 of the San Diego-Albuquerque Road Trip - starting from Santee to Tombstone, Arizona via Breakfast in Yuma, lots of desert and cacti, the Mission San Xavier del Bac and a major rain storm outside Tucson plus how to sketch on the move! (3 sketches plus photos)  Note: The latter updates the original which had coding problems when I tried to update it and hence could not be amended.
  • Tuesday 18th July "A Tombstone Epitaph" (photos) an account of an evening with the cowboys in Tombstone
  • Wednesday 19th July "Chillis and a big elephant butt" - Day 1 of the San Diego-Albuquerque Road Trip - involved Tombstone to Albuquerque via Hatch (home of the hot chilli), Truth and Consequences and Elephant Butte. (3 sketches)
  • Thursday 20th July - Plein air sketching in "Old Town Albuquerque"; CPSA slide show of all entries for the annual exhibition (2 sketches plus photos)
  • Friday 21st July - "Plein Air Sketching and a Banquet" Plein air sketching, champagne and the CPSA Banquet (2 sketches)
  • Friday 21st July (out of order): "Plein Air Sketching the Sandia Mountains" - a follow on from the previous process with a detailed explanation of the process re developing a diptych sketch
  • Saturday 22nd July - "Santa Fe and Georgia O'Keeffe" visiting Santa Fe and the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in blissful weather.  
  • Saturday 22nd July - "The CPSA Artists' Reception" - for the Annual Exhibition of the Coloured Pencil Society of America (2 sketches and photos)
Road Trip #2 - Albuquerque, New Mexico to Santee, California via Prescott, Arizona

The main challenge for the drive back was that in the summer of 2006 the USA had a major heatwave . It had started on 15th July and got hotter as July progressed.  There were extremely high temperatures in the deserts making planning for the route for the trip back rather critical.  The aim was to avoid major inclines for a fully loaded car with four people.
Road Trip #3 - Pacific Coast Highway Trip from San Francisco to San Diego

On this trip I found out that the marine inversions on the coast tend to accompany very high temperatures inland!
As well as sketching details, my posts also include details of

  • routes I travelled
  • places I stayed and/or visited
  • descriptions of places where I ate meals (which often became the subjects for sketches) 
  • PLUS places to buy art supplies .


  1. Harley Davidson??? This I wouldn't have predicted! Can't wait to hear(and see) all about the trip!

  2. Wow, what a fabulous trip!! Reading the list of all you've done, I'm not surprised you didn't find time to blog about it to! Looking forward to seeing and reading about it.

  3. can't wait to see, you must be exhausted!

  4. And now when I say it is hot here, you will know what I mean. We have had record heat of 114 degrees this summer. News said last time was 75 yrs ago. Seems you have been gone so long. I can't wait till you get back. I have missed seeing you on the threads and classes and reading your blogs. Safe journey home. Jeanne "J"

  5. I'm really looking forward to your posts Katherine. You were in some of my very favorite spots in this big ol' country. I can't wait to see the sketches and read about your dining experiences. I hope you've gotten some rest and found your return home pleasant.

  6. Sounds like you had a great time. Looking forward to the pictures.

  7. Sorry, still haven't had time to get to the tour. I'd like to first check out some of the sites/tools recommended by people. My goal is to have an interactive blog of "place" that will allow anyone to enter a blog post of that place, complete with images, etc. Current blogs focus on a person or topic...I think a new kind of blog that focuses on place (for eternity) would be really interesting. Wouldn't you like to know everyone else's experience of a place? Maybe a couple got engaged at the cafe you're painting...



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