I wondered how I might recognize the United States National Park Service on its 97th birthday today, an organization that has meant so much to me and many generations. Saying thanks seems best with a few pictures and thoughts from my times as an artist in residence; times which represent unforgettable and cherished experiences.
I remember while making the “moonlight” image above, bats flew around me on the porch of my residency home. That two weeks was really special. I saw grizzlies and a host of other birds and creatures I had only seen in pictures.“St. Mary’s Lake – Early Evening” Pastel 2000 Glacier National Park
On the drive back from Waterton Lakes, I stopped to view St. Mary’s. Just at that moment, the sun broke through the clouds. Just enough time for a quick sketch. It was wondrous. I enjoyed the diminutive Goose Island against a backdrop of the large glacier cut mountains.
A crow was my “friend” while I sat at the cypress knees. I put friend in quotations because he managed to steal some of my art supplies temporarily. The only way I got them back was by “trading” a granola bar. I took the photo below of him. He landed on my car as soon as I parked and stayed with me the full three hours I worked. I think of this unexpected encounter with great fondness even though he used his intelligence for thievery.
And a thanks to the Everglades National Park staff who helped me with a dog rescue, “Rosie” and Park Ranger Paul and his wife who adopted her. Maybe crazy but I still keep these photos posted by my desk. I wish I could have taken her home but I lived in an apartment at the time and could not have dogs. I know she has a good home in Vermont though. She was a faithful companion to me while I painted as you can see.
Rosie took me out into the Everglades at night, which I would not have done because I did fear some of its nocturnal creatures, but dogs need bathroom time out…and I became glad they do. I made this drawing from memory recalling the magic of the dark.