Welcome to North Dakota

This is my first visit to North Dakota.  I imagined a desolate land where towns were few and far between.  Not so!  With all the trucks and building I’ve seen, it’s clearly thriving.  There are prosperous farms and villages, lovely grasslands and verdant valleys.  We’ve left the ochres and browns of Montana and moved onto a crazy quilt of soft yellow and green fields. And while I’m sure much of the year it is frigid, today it was H-O-T.  So hot it was unpleasant to take photographs, let alone get outside to draw.

I saw many places I would have liked to stop and sketch.  The new red roof and fresh white building was a lovely contrast to the surrounding yellows and greens of the tiny hamlet of Amidon.

Amidon ND

Everywhere there are fields full of hay rolls – is that what they’re called, or is there another name? Whizzing past these fields in the car, the rolls don’t look too large, but I’ve seen them on semi-trucks and two abreast in the back make for a very wide load! I’m also seeing a field of hay rolls as a possible subject for a perspective lesson in November.  Look out perspective students!


There was a field full of buffalo.  I would have liked to have gotten a picture, but there was, believe it or not, too much traffic to stop.   I’ve encountered much more traffic in North Dakota than Montana.  I love learning about new places!


    1. Thanks for asking, Susanne. I’m using a Stillman and Birns Epsilon sketchbook. I quite like the way it takes both ink and watercolor. For individual drawings I use Arches 140 lb hot press,

  1. Hay rolls are usually called ’round bales’. They come in different sizes, but usually weigh 7-800 pounds. Lady farmers love them because nobody is going to expect you to pick one up; you move it with a tractor with hay spears attached to the front bucket. Another advantage is that you don’t have to feed as often. Rather than making a daily run through winter fields with a hay truck, you place one of these big bales in a circular bale feeder and forget about it for at least a week (depending on the number of livestock being fed).

    I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and have been thoroughly enjoying the drawings, insights, and mini-lessons. Thank you. Pen and ink is a favorite medium. This road trip is also of great interest because you are crossing territory that I have explored only from the air. The stretch of 85 that leads to Amidon looks very interesting. Of course, now I am intensely curious as to where you might be headed next!

    Looking forward to the lesson in bale perspective.

    1. Thank you so much for the great information about hay bales. And thank you too for reading my blog. It’s more fun to write and share this trip with others when I get feedback.

Leave a Reply to Paula Ensign Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s