Wildflowers meet watercolors | SkyHiNews.com

Wildflowers meet watercolors

Doug Goodwin
Grand Lake Recreation program director

Wildflowers and water colors: Why not blend the two? On Friday, July 20, that’s exactly what the participants of Grand Lake Recreation District’s adult program did.

On a beautiful morning in Rocky Mountain National Park a group of 20 eager learners gathered at the Kawuneechee Visitor Center. This program takes place only on the western side of the Park as part of an effort to expand upon the available educational opportunities here on the less crowded western side of the park.

From the visitor center, participants were taken deep into the park to learn about wildflowers of the area. They used digital cameras to capture the vivid colors of the flowers all around them. With images captured, and souls inspired, the group then headed to one of the more special locations within the park, the Betty Dick property, also known as Trail River Ranch.

This property, which sits at the edge of an expansive meadow with a  meandering creek nearby, was built before the Park was established. Trail River Ranch is the perfect location for the second part of the day: water color painting.

After a tasty lunch, the soon-to-be expert painters looked on as a true master of the art, Donna Lyons, gave a demonstration of composition, color blending, and general technique to the awed students. From there, the painters used images of flowers captured earlier that morning to use as guides to paint their own masterpieces. Natural light streamed into the old, once boarded up Betty Dick house. Painters dipped their fine brushes into clear, cool water obtained from the nearby stream.

From within, one could glance out of any window and be inspired by the beauty of the landscape within a short walk from the front deck. Soon, the rustic room was filled with a feeling of concentration as the painters worked at their craft.

At the end of the day, beautiful works of art had been created, minds had been fed, and perhaps, as Betty Dick looked down upon her ranch that had once been the place of much activity, a new chapter in the Trail River Ranch had begun.

For this inspirational day in Rocky Mountain National Park I wish to thank all who helped make it happen and who continue to work towards the reality of Trail River Ranch becoming an educational facility within the Park.

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