I call this the “travel poster” look which is a simplistic graphic illustration style but with more gradations than the old world travel posters from the 1930’s and 40’s. The process: I first create rough sketches. Then I tighten up each part as a pencil sketch and scan the drawing into the computer. I then use this scan as an underlay importing it into Adobe Illustrator. Each part of the image is created as a shape and eventually I fill the shapes in with color. After the color palette is established, I then create simple gradations to allow the image to have some depth. This piece has been printed as a giclee on watercolor paper.
Colorado National Monument (locally referred to as The Monument) is a National Park Service unit near the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone, and even granite–gneiss–schist, rock formations. This is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests on the plateau. The park hosts a wide range of wildlife, including red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, ravens, jays, desert bighorn sheep, and coyotes. Activities include hiking, horseback riding, road bicycling, and scenic drives; a visitor center on the west side contains a natural history museum and gift shop. There are magnificent views from trails and the Rim Rock Drive, which winds along the plateau – as well as from the campground. Nearby are the Book Cliffs and the largest flat-topped mountain in the world, the Grand Mesa.
Its feature attraction is Monument Canyon, which runs the width of the park and includes rock formations such as Independence Monument, the Kissing Couple, and Coke Ovens. The monument includes 20,500 acres (32 square miles), much of which has been recommended to Congress for designation as wilderness.
The area was first explored by John Otto, a free spirit who settled in Grand Junction in the early 20th century. Prior to Otto’s arrival, many area residents believed the canyons to be inaccessible to humans. Otto began building trails on the plateau and into the canyons. As word spread about his work, the Chamber of Commerce of Grand Junction sent a delegation to investigate. The delegation returned praising both Otto’s work and the scenic beauty of the wilderness area, and the local newspaper began lobbying to make it a National Park. A bill was introduced and carried by the local Representatives to the U.S. Congress and Senate but a Congressional slowdown in the final months threatened the process. To ensure protection of the canyons President William Howard Taft (who had visited the area) stepped in and used the highest powers available to him via the Antiquities Act and presidential proclamation to declare the canyons as a national monument.
The area was established as Colorado National Monument on May 24, 1911. Otto was hired as the first park ranger, drawing a salary of $1 per month. For the next 16 years, he continued building and maintaining trails while living in a tent in the park.
Visitors from across the world come for a once in a lifetime event – that happens every year – the raising of the stars and stripes on top of a 450-foot tall monolith named Independence Monument.
John Otto could think of nothing better than to advertise Monument Canyon from a flag waving on top of the 450-foot tall Independence Monument. He worked day after day for several weeks pounding iron pipes and carving out footsteps into solid rock to make it possible for any brave soul to get to the top. After successfully getting to the top of Independence Monument for the first time on June 8, 1911, John Otto started his tradition of raising an American flag on top of Independence Monument every year on the Fourth of July.
Today, the Mesa County Technical Rescue Team climbs and raises the American flag just like John Otto did 101 years ago.