Taking the Scenic Route

Freeways are great if you want to get somewhere fast.   I want to see what the small towns and byways really look like so I’m taking Highway 12 across Montana.  It’s a good road with a 70 mph speed limit.  It passes through small towns and cities, ranches, farms, mountains and valleys.  It’s beautiful.  This morning as I was heading out I was optimistic that I would find subject to draw along the way.

My first impression was golden rolling hills with a big sky above.  It’s a peaceful land, dotted with trees, decorated with creeks and rivers in rich hues and rugged textures.  I wanted to draw the simplicity of the landscape, but how to capture its vastness?   My first quick drawing was a poor attempt and the photograph I took of the drawing came out even worse so I’ll have to include it another time.

Driving further east there were lots of black cows.  Tucker would bark each time he spotted them.  One litte guy had managed to get outside the fence and was walking along the highway.  I took his picture and now he’s a fitting souvenir of Montana in my sketchbook.


The day was hot and getting hotter.  I found a wonderful grain elevator to draw, but it was so hot I decided to take a photo instead.  The same was true with the rustic Antique shop and dilapidated group of buildings I discovered along the way.  It was 95 degrees and this Northwest girl melts in that kind of heat.  Thank goodness for cameras.  I arrived at my evening destination – still 90 degrees at 7:00 pm – and drew from my photographs.

It’s amazing how knowing the subject won’t change, encourages a more careful drawing.  It’s easier to take the time to include details and plan a composition.  I really liked the rough logs and simple details of this antique shop in Roundup, Montana paired with the rough trunk of the cottonwood tree.

Wild West Antiques

What will the scenic route show me next?  I can’t wait to find out.

1 Comment

  1. Cows are always fun to draw. The antiques shop is enchanting, with its little bench, shade tree and old wagon wheels. Your style of drawing lends itself really well to these subjects.

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