Tri-state car panoramas

I’m just back from a full week of touring and painting in Utah’s five National Parks. I still have comments to catch up on and more sketches to post going back to day one. The start of the sketching week begins like this:

It was easier to get to southern Utah through Las Vegas, rather than fly into Salt Lake City, but that meant that last Sunday, upon arrival in Vegas, we had to drive directly to the first National Park which was almost six hours away. The start of the drive was surprisingly pleasant despite the long flight, with changing desert vistas and wide open skies. When I looked at the map I realized that before getting to Utah from Nevada, we had to cross a little corner of Arizona, so I dug out my panoramic sketchbook with the idea of capturing a bit of landscape from each state. The view of the Nevada hills was grey and dry, not a tree in sight, just low scrub and cracked ground. By the time we reached Arizona, the colours of the rock started to change. When we crossed into Utah, the setting sun lit up the red hills and green pastures.

I won’t go into too much detail about the harrowing second half of the drive — in total darkness, on switchbacks through narrow canyons and then for a long time on an open range. I’d rather forget it. But if you want more info I can put you in touch with some of the locals I met a few days later who told me that NO ONE drives on an open range at night.







10 Comments on “Tri-state car panoramas”

  1. joreimer says:

    I’m enjoying your trip report so much. Your sketches from the passenger seat inspire me to try this the next time we go on a road trip. They are simple sketches, yet capture the feel of the landscape like no photograph can.


  2. croquedessin says:

    Fantastics memories !


  3. TR Duncan says:

    so beautiful! thank you


  4. I’ve driven those switchbacks at dusk and they are harrowing! Love the panorama views!


    • Thanks Jean. I couldn’t comment on your blog while I was away but I did want to say that next time you come to Montreal, let me know and we can go out and do some urban sketching.


  5. refarch says:

    I was on this stretch of road as well last year; we were in a bus with a full view of the frontwindow. I sat next to the driver and I was able to draw while on the road. I think I even drew the same mountains as your middle image, look at this drawing:
    But then again, a lot of those beautiful mountains look alike.


    • A lot of those mountains do look alike but you rendered it well. We were close to Lake Powell but didn’t quite make it. We wondered why so many boats were travelling through the desert until we looked at a map and realized how close the water was.


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