Friday, April 19, 2013

Sketch - Granite Cactus Drought

Apologies, Shirley!

On my last foothills hike, the wind was really intense, and it sapped my strength. But I found a more sheltered spot, to sketch and embrace what little is green -
It's been too long since I sketched, away
from my design work. At least my hands
won't freeze off now.

Sketching helps any designer to design
better, breaking down the general forms
that compose a scene.

When many of us draw in plan, we cause
our clients to glaze over, or at the least,
we cause ourselves to glaze over and
over-design more than is needed.

These slabs of rounded granite, with a solo Desert Prickly Pear / Opuntia
engelmannii
, always grab me near the top.

The cactus is green and stands out all year. The bright green of the lichens
on parts of the larger granite do, too. The gritty soil, derived from the granite
rock is the height of what mulch is for foothills plantings.

Tufts of Black Grama and Bush Muhley grasses can get green now, but
usually they stay brown until the rainy season.

The top of my hike looks so pleasant and warm. But the wind was relentless. As it warms up, it gets browner. In a few past years, it has rained a little in May or early June, and it just might again, to surprise and refresh all. But probably not until July.

I'll have to make it a point to scout out great sketching spots on my mountain bike rides between each hike.

14 comments:

  1. Nothing like a great hike!!! I actually get to garden this weekend!!! We are almost finished with the fountain area!!! I cannot wait until it's complete:)

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    1. Yes, even with wind. You get to garden? I bet you're anxious to get back into it. Me too...

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  2. Look at those forms! The round rocks and the opuntia are more similar in form than I had even realized. Repeating the green is so important in the desert landscape.

    You will miss that view although you will find another favorite hiking spot in the new place.

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    1. True, as everything is rounded in form, even the mounded mass of that species. Definitely, places to continue my hikes and rides is part of the criteria of each possibility!

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  3. I use to sketch and draw in my youth when living in Europe in the late 70s to 1980. When I came home, I never took it up again. My inspiration for some designs have always come from what I call Chaparral Tunnels. Those are the normally dry washes which turn into rushing brooks in Springtime after good winter rains. Mostly, those days are gone now, but we hiked and made our way through such over grown Bushwacking country by following these which always made perfect pathways. We always found many beautiful intriguing things under those Elfin Forest canopies. Generally other plants which you'd normally miss on other routes.

    The tunnels are what gave me the inspiration for utilizing very ornamental chaparral species for cramped space hideaways where space for trees are impossible and maybe undesirable. You can create a cool natural arbor space for friends and family to get out of the hot sun and relax with a meal and/or moderate quantities of adult beverages. In any event they can be just as magic a hideaway as any tunnel to a kid in the bush.

    -

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    1. I think our arroyos are similar, though more summer than winter runoff. Chaparral tunnels would really create some shelter and refuge from the sun, wind, etc, especially when they use large boulders (in the wild) or walls, ramadas, or even sides of buildings where available. Kind of like a hidden oasis, though I wouldn't want to cover my entire house or land with it like some try with trees...but again, in the chaparral, they are small areas so perhaps that's a concentrated oasis option? Great stuff!

      Thanks for reminding me on this, as I might do a post or article on adapting this concept to my local area, with plant lists, etc.

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  4. Cannot imagine NOT sketching my designs. On site.

    Computers are fine. I like the many extra layers of brain used in being on site, using hands, eyes, nose, ears......with the real site not a pic of the site...

    XO T

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    1. I've never gotten my stuff together to do it on-site, but the pic of you with an easel onsite looks like you tend to do that! The pics are nice for some work, but not all...sketching on hikes stretches my eye, some...

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  5. What a super place to hike!

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    1. Thanks - even though a bit dried out! (wind back today)

      Glad to see you back...missing your blog posts.

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  6. I always get excited to see you sketching.
    Sketching and hiking! Doesn't get any better than that.

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    1. Thanks! And I rode past a few candidate sketch places yesterday, and tomorrow's my hike day...maybe a close-up to see more structure, or something new...

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  7. That view!!!!!! Looks like a long hike - good job! :) Love your sketch...as always. I would love to learn to draw not like a 5 year old. ;)

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    1. It is amazing, and mostly I have it to myself. Thanks - I too am working on drawing better...my advice, is be loose and keep pen / pencil / marker to paper...and be loose!

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