Journal of Michael Baum / Travels of an Artist

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Palmer Land Trust Trips

Meadow at Lazy K Ranch

Meadow Trail, oil, 12" x 9" (sold)

Wales Canyon

Hamilton Ranch

The Palmer Land Trust obtains conservation easements from private landowners in southeast Colorado. Conservation easements ensure that land will remain undeveloped. PLT has over 80,000 acres under easement at present.

To raise both funds and raise awareness, the PLT is organizing an art show and sale, "Heritage: Land for Land's Sake". The Trust selected 36 artists to create and display work inspired by PLT easements. To expedite this, Gary Conover of the PLT organized trips for the artists to see  easement properties on private land. These properties are special places. It's great to know they will be preserved.

Palmer Land Trust trip to Lazy K Ranch. Owned by Henry Kissinger's brother, it's covers several hundred acres north of Divide. Several artists drive up along with Gary Conover who is one of the show organizers and is arranging our trips. Patrice comes along as well. She needs the rest. We are greeted by the worlds most friendly cats, but the ranch manager is not around. Patrice and I walk down to the meadow/pasture behind the house and walk up to a sunny hillside with aspens and a nice view back down the valley. I set up and do three watercolor sketches and take several photos. Patrice studies Spanish and wanders around taking photos. After an hour and a half, we head back to meet the others, but they aren't there. We walk around looking for them to no avail. Just when I decide to do another watercolor, they return from their tour of another part of the ranch. We drive back to Divide for lunch.

I meet Gary and the group of painters at 8:30 am for the trip to Wales Canyon on the Hamilton Ranch near Wetmore. We get to the ranch around 10:30 and stop to photograph longhorn cattle. The cattle stare at us and bellow as we tentatively walk among them. These are huge animals, especially the bulls with 6 foot spans of horn. The bulls aren't in the least aggressive toward us. They are more interested in their females.

We move on into some rough two-track as we jolt down the side of a steep canyon and up the other side. I'm glad I'm not driving. We emerge into a long sloping meadow. It's still pretty green even this late in the season. Parts are carpeted in yellow snakeweed blooms. We walk toward a line of trees and the canyon edge. Wales Canyon is s few hundred feet deep and a quarter mile wide, deeper and wider than I expected. Its slopes are enclosed in trees hiding a rim rock cliff and more cliffs farther down in the canyon. We take photos and climb down the steep slope into the canyon, carefully lowering ourselves over rock ledges. The trees create a screen of green blocking clear views with foreground clutter. I get some cliff shots, but am largely frustrated. We climb out. On the way up, I find some very nice outcroppings topped with pines. These are painting possibilities.

Back in the meadow, we walk up to the western end where the canyon splits off to the north. More views with too many trees in the wrong places,. But coming back down the meadow to the cars, I find some nice shots of the meadow descending to the distant valley. We pile in the cars and make our way out. Our time was too short. There was a lot more to explore, and I did not get an opportunity to sketch. But, it was a good trip. I got a few good photos and had an adventurous day with friends.


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