Monday, May 09, 2005

Planning our New Zealand Trip

"Still Water Sunset on Aitutaki" Click to see all the sketch book drawings of the South Pacific

We're looking forward to 3 weeks in the South Pacific. We're flying Air New Zealand out of Los Angeles making a stop in Tahiti for fuel, then Rarotonga International Airport to change planes, then 160 miles north to the little island of Aitutaki. Yep, it's a pretty small island, and we're pretty anxious to see the palm trees and blue-green water. After a few days on Aitutaki, we're flying back to Rarotonga for four days, then on to New Zealand for 11 days on the North island. Stay tuned to the blog and we'll do all we can to make you wish you were here!

Click here to see watercolor paintings Aitutaki and Rarotonga in the South Pacific

Friday, May 06, 2005

Watchman Trail Hike - Zion National Park

Sketchbook drawings of Zion Canyon

I spend a lot of time in Zion National Park. I have been sketching and painting there for about 25 years. Now, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Zion Natural History Association, I also attend frequent meetings there. Today, following one of those meetings, my friend Lyman Hafen(who is the director of ZNHA)suggested we shake off the cobwebs with a speedy hike up the Watchman Trail.

We left the Park offices and speedwalked up the road to a well marked trailhead just above the ranger residences near the Watchman campground. Today, rain was predicted and the skies were threatening. Although the temperature was pleasant (in the low 70's) it was extremely muggy because of the impending rain. Lyman only went part way up the trail, before turning back to get to another meeting, but I continued on to the trail's end on a spectacular viewpoint.

With a few minutes to sketch I started a few drawings of the Sentinel across the valley, and West Temple on the West rim. Within minutes thunder bellowed and I sketched furiously as I watched a heavy thunderstorm approach. The wind picked up, lightning lit up the sky, and heavy drops brought an end to my sketching. I took cover under a rock overhang and exulted in my good fortune as I watched nature's fury unleashed. These are the moments that I live for.

Watercolor painting of the Sentinel in Zion National Park

After a short time the rain eased up and I started back down the trail. I stopped and sketched some wildflowers, and made a few more notes on the way down the trail. I had the whole trail and experience to myself, and only met 4 other hikers today. When summer hits, the trail will entertain many more people.

To see more sketch books and watercolor paintings of Zion National Park visit Watercolor Paintings by Roland Lee