What? A Bighorn!!

Sometimes I just have to stop and stare in awe with pure amazement at what I see. In the morning with the brisk air upon our faces and the sun rising over the mountains, we looked up to see a magnificent beast of a bighorn in front of us. When out in nature it is so very important to respect the habitat of wild animals. No picture was taken at this time. The bighorn sheep was walking and wandering around solo looking for food. He saw us, and ran up the mountain face bounding with such strength and agility. We were forever impressed by the speed of this animal. Our dog just sat and watched marveling at this creature before us. One day I will paint this experience and may add another blog about the emotions, as there were many, and I still will not be able to describe the feelings of wonder.

We have seen bighorn before and photographed herds of them. We saw some in Zion, UT, while kayaking Black Canyon, AZ, and in Valley of Fire here in Nevada. Still, wow, this one was special. The way our dog reacted with such calmness and the still of the air was amazing. The colors of the morning sky were breathtaking and my husband holding my hand gave me all the feels. This was truly a special and spectacular event in my life. I was able to take some photographs of the wash with the perfect light of day. I created a few paintings and kept some solely as photographs. Finding a branch from a bush sitting staring at the sky was my favorite picture. The temperature that day was a perfect cool desert morning. 

Walking along the trail after seeing this profound animal, we just kept smiling. Have you ever had a day like this, where everything goes right, and magical things keep happening? It was interesting that the air was cool in the middle of July. These months are usually filled with heat warnings and severe dry weather. We were able to stay out longer than we thought due to such wonderful conditions. We explored further on the trail than we had gone before and were able to observe a cluster of rocks coming up from the earth. We tried to get a photograph close up to the rocks in the hopes of making them look like a canyon even though they were at the level of our feet. We felt like giants in a wonderland. I look forward to painting these pictures for you and adding them to my Lake Mead series. Stay tuned and look for them on the website soon!

Thank you for reading and have a great Monday!

-Karen Hilliard

The Wash

In the hot summer months the water in the valley dries up and the wash becomes available to walk through. The path is riddled with beautiful sandstone and limestone rocks, pebbles, and boulders. It is an amazing workout on the ankles and legs which helps with dexterity. Balance with oneself and nature is necessary while exploring topography such as this. The heat of the desert settles in and the wash appears vast, hot, and completely sparse of life. There we are, walking, trudging along into the abyss wondering what treasures we will find. I love watching our dog bound endlessly from boulder to boulder like a billy goat on the side of a cliff. He has so much energy and it is nice to watch him in his element exploring every ounce of wonder.

His exercise in the summer months is limited due to the heat so we have to take the dog out hiking in the very early hours of the day. The fall months are a much nicer experience for the three of us and the exploration we love to do. The leaves change color, the wash is dry, and the breeze is cool if not cold. The mountains are starting to get ready for snow so they can supply the wash with water in the spring. The colors in the desert are glorious during the fall. The rocks on the path we trail on are wondrous shades of blue, purple, red, orange, yellow, white, and cream. We love feeling the smoothness of the rock faces whittled down by wind and rain in the wash. Sitting down on a nice surface area and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate or tea is a nice treat for the humans on this journey.

Blue Heeler | Karen Hilliard Art Blog | Red Rock Canyon State Park
I used the Fall colors from the desert for inspiration on this little sketch.

The boundless energy of our dog keeps us entertained and moving forward under any circumstance. Sometimes we end up butt scooting down cliff faces and carrying the dog on our laps or handing him to and fro between one another. He is not a small or light animal but we manage. Through all this, we have a backpack that one of us carries with a sketchbook, watercolors, and a pen. Oftentimes we will find a spot where my husband and dog sit, relax, explore, or do whatever their hearts want to do at that moment. I sit and sketch, paint, or draw. I like to just look, observe, and think about what I see or notice as well. Writing down my thoughts is a must because of the vast beauty and endless ideas in front of me. I enclosed a few pictures of our hike in the wash. More to come!

Thank you for reading and have a happy Monday!

-Karen Hilliard