Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Yellowstone Sketches - 2016

This will just be a quick post to share some of the sketches I did on a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park.  Since the bison has just become the official national mammal, this one is a good place to start.

Bison are one of my favorite animals to sketch.

Springtime in Yellowstone wouldn't be complete without a few snow showers .... and sometimes a real snow storm.  This year we saw less snow than usual, but many more wildflowers.
Northern flickers can look quite drab, but when they flare their tail or wings, they have bright flashes of orange.  When we first arrived the aspen hadn't leafed out yet. The bare branches gave us lots of opportunity to watch two pairs of flickers deciding just where their territorial boundaries were going to be.  
This is one of my favorite sketches from the trip.  Its wildlife is simple -- a chipmunk -- but it comes from a spot where we frequently listen for birds in the early morning, or use as a lunch spot.  One of my big reasons for keeping a sketchbook is capturing the memories.

Sandhill cranes are such elegant birds.

And here is one of my favorite subjects:  an aspen trunk scarred when a bear climbed the tree years ago.

Three great horned owlets are crowed onto a rock ledge way above the Lamar River.  A red-tailed hawk first used this ledge.  This year, the owls have it.  While I was sketching a thunderstorm rolled in and I had to scurry into the car.  We saw no sign of the adult until the thunder and lightening started.  I'm not sure whether the adult flew back to the nest or had been hidden in the dark recesses of the crevice.
A pair of osprey are just startling a new nest.  Often they use the same nest from one year to the next. There was another nest nearby last year, but the tree fell over.  I suspect it is the same pair building this nest.

This is just a peek at what I've been up too.  I also brought home a lot of unfinished sketches and the raw material for some blog posts.


  1. All these are great from bird to bird and in between! Glad you had the time in Yellowstone. Bet we can count on more?

  2. I love your sketches, looking forward to seeing more .

  3. Elva, what wonderful sketches and a great post!!! Thank you for sharing them. Best wishes, Sadami

  4. I too am looking forward to seeing and hearing more about your annual spring trip to Yellowstone.

  5. Welcome Home, I envy your annual Yellowstone migration and enjoy the reports, sketches and photos. Will you have another Audobon talk this year?

  6. They are so beautiful...your appreciation and fulfillment at being out in the beautiful nature shows...

  7. Wonderful as these are here, in person they are even better. You capture those memories so well. Look forward to seeing the unfinished ones finished. My favorite is opening right to that big black bird staring down at you in your sketchbook. It's not even all on the page and yet it feels so real and powerful. A fun way to begin a sketchbook. 👏