Drawn to the West: The stories behind the images

Scroll to find the story of the card you have or are sending to someone.
If you don’t see the card you’re looking for, pop me a note and I’ll gladly share the story.

Timeless Moments

This collection features black-and-white film photography which I took on a Minolta camera, then printed in a traditional, wet-chemistry dark room. Starting on the top row, far left:

  • Sunspots glitter across a dilapidated building near the confluence of Montana’s Blackfoot River and Clark’s For River.
  • This limber pine (Pinus flexilis) along the Rocky Mountain Front, may be older than the USA.
  • Slight, hairy, gregarious, and more of a grazer than a rooter, free-ranging Kune kune pigs are productive part of of a wholistic farm system.
  • A dear friend cradles her first braid of garlic, after learning how to weave dried garlic stalks together.
  • Tall grass provides shelter for tens of thousands of migratory waterfowl (swans, geese, ducks, and more) as they trek north and south along the Rocky Mountains.
  • Camp dinner, on New Year’s Day — a moment to reflect and look forward.
  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is non-native to North America, and in some places, it is invasive, though visually striking.
  • A dove brings a moment of peace to the garlic harvest.
  • Wind dances through cattails alongside a Rocky Mountain beaver pond.

Wild Wonders

This collection features illustrations of iconic, but easily overlooked species. Starting on the top row, far left:

  • Chickadee
  • House finch (female)
  • Prairie dog
  • Clark’s nutcracker
  • Lodgepole pine
  • Cottonwood
  • Bumble bee
  • Common juniper
  • A candle that lit an off-the-grid cabin, one dark, snowy January night
  • Red fox
  • Lodgepole pine cones
  • A merry flock of finches


Drawn to the Holidays

Drawn to the West_holiday 2015

This collection features illustrations from special moments which make me think of the delightfulness of winter holidays of all sorts. Starting on the top row, far right:

  • A merry flock of finches, for abundance and sustenance
  • A wishbone, for looking ahead
  • An icon of the West, for holiday cheer
  • A candle,  for reflecting back
  • Libations, for health
  • Juniper, for shelter

Flock Together

This collection features illustrations of three bird species I particularly enjoy observing and drawing. Starting on the top row, far left:

  • Hairy woodpecker – although leery of people, these birds can often be observed fairly closely if  you set out a suet feeder in the winter.
  • Great blue heron – this set of sketches were some of the earliest bird sketches I ever drew, in preparation for a project illustrating a wetland field guide. Watching herons, and trying to capture on paper the subtle, constant changes in their neck and feathers, is a grand challenge.
  • Flock of house finches – on a winter day, these finches were feasting on berries which had been exposed after the leaves from this tangle of vines withered and blew away.
Drawn to the West_natural history color

This collection features illustrations of iconic western species, along with notes about the species significance in western ecosystems. Order cards from this collection. Starting on the top row, far left:

  • Beaver drawn in prep for illustrating a wetland field guide.
  • Cottonwood leaves drawn on one of my first-ever backpacking trips.
  • Lodgepole pine drawn on a backpacking trip, to demonstrate some techniques for drawing trees.
  • Blue flag iris drawn while hiking along the Rocky Mountain Front.
  • Bear berry drawn on a day hike in the Rockies.
  • Bison sketched in Yellowstone National Park in late July.

This collection features illustrations of three significant moments in my career as an illustrator and professional sharer of science. Order cards from this collection. Starting on the top row, far left:

  • Wildlife biologists demonstrate how to use radio telemetry equipment to track wildlife (in this case, bison!)
  • A child uses a microscope to observe aquatic macro-invertebrates (insects that dwell in water). He collected them on a field trip and now is cataloging and drawing them to better understand the quality of the stream he visited.
  • A First Nations girl conducts a chemistry test to assess water quality in a stream not far from where she lives.