Thursday, May 3, 2018



 Massive buttes and buttresses right across the river from Deer Creek Falls. The rock was volcanic and limestone mixed together in layers and curtains. We are also slowly descending into lower elevations and starting to get growths of cactus and creosote bushes.

A little 4 X 11" sketch across the river with our boats tried up to a heavy stake hammered into the sand. That banana shaped thing in the foreground is a kayak. As a drawing its important to get the size and shape relations between the man-made objects and natural landscape. 

Deer Creek Falls. Just too big to draw and get the power of all that cascading water and spray.

While everyone else was hiking above the falls I thought I would dash off some texture sketches of the various kinds of cactus growing around in the boulders on the beach. Beautiful but nasty, sharp, pointy things.

See what I mean...all the plants look like deadly pin cushions. I backed into one of the cactus while drawing and had to take a pair of pliers to get some of the thorns out. Dont care got a decent pencil sketch out of it 

Another 6 X 4" pencil sketch of stone blocks, various types of cactus and those massive cliffs in the background. By now I was baking in the sun working on that tan and scribbling the best I could. Every now and then I would mosey over to the falls, take a dip and come back soaking wet all to find a squirrel chewing on may sketchbook. Damn critics.

Quick little scribble of another group heading downstream to wherever. For some reason I like the combination of the boats, water pour off and actions of the currents as the boats move through it. Drawing the movement of water made me a better artist in describing it all.

The group made of private guides took off down this little riffle before we gathered up and split as well. Its always fun to sketch the oar boats as they twist and turn through the whitewater. I always thought the oar boats looked like beetles with the dragonfly-like kayaks nimbly buzzing around them in the currents.

Fishtail Rapids (rated 4 &10 ft Drop)

Dave adroitly handling the cargo oar boat. A very hard job owing to the fact that it carried all the heavy gear and food all stuffed into every inch of storage space. 

Somewhere around Olo Canyon. The river has opened up a bit and is a calm, smooth affair where the canyons sometimes close in and then occasionally open up and expose the huge plateaus and jagged cliffs.

Been drawing enough in these confined little oar boats that Im looking for just about any angle I can get to compose the  guide, their actions and whatever way I can cram the towering cliffs in. I really have to give it to the guides for putting up with my "artistic" shenanigans.

I was laying down on the bottom of the raft getting drenched to get this sketch. Kyle inadvertently ended up kicking me a couple of times trying to get his footing.

A quick little sketch of Kyle in the middle of Upset Rapid (rated 8 & 15 ft drop) Have to admit, trying to not fall out while I sketched was a real hazard as I was frequently sitting on the edge of the inflatable pontoons bouncing around with sketchbook and pencil in hand.

Jimmy zig zagging from cliff edge and forth and back to keep things interesting.

Kyle taking a leisurely little row in a calm stretch below Pocket Point downstream from Havasu Creek somewhere about mile 161. I sometime rowed standing myself and it takes a whole different set of muscles and body rotation dynamics. 

Dean in Tuckup Canyon around mile 165. We pulled off to take a little hike up through the canyon. Interesting big walls and run off all throughout the ravine.

Deans down there to the right to show you the scale of the canyon. 

Kyle navigating the simple read-and-run National Rapids. A couple of hundred yards from camp.

View from our days end at National Camp at around mile 167. A quiet wide stretch of sand and small boulders perched in cresent shape up against back wall of thousand foot cliffs

Kyle cooking up what looks to be steaks or something meaty.

Anne climbing up National Canyon through the pools and small waterfalls. We always had the time in the afternoon to go out and hike, play games or with me...drawing.

A huge limestone wall situated downstream from the main camp. Did the drawing in waterproof ink first and then laid in the watercolors in the late afternoon light. These are about 8 X 11" 

Later in the afternoon and the sun is moving quickly up the limestone pillars

This double-walled split pillar  was the last drawing before the sun slipped down behind the 
opposite canyon wall. I used a fountain pen to sketch out the clouds left over from an afternoon thunderstorm and then mixed together blues from the sky with the warm colors bouncing off the walls. I should have done more of these.

Dave handling the morning breakfast before we take off  from National Campsite

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