Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 9

Today I went where I could barely see the area where parcel 8138 is located. FrackMap

I pulled off at a campsite to do some painting. It was smoky today from a fire somewhere around here. There were lots of busy trucks zooming by up on the road. A few minutes after they passed by a layer of dust would drift over me and settle on all my stuff.

9BusyTruck

This truck’s driver is in a hurry, he’s zipping by in a cloud of dust.

This area is mixed aspen groves and meadows with oak brush stands. 9AspenGrove and meadow    Its pretty from above looking down but I know from riding horses and hiking experience that its a challenge to get through those thickets. But the deer and elk have made their historic trails and manage just fine.

While I was painting a worried deer kept snorting at me. She was about 50 feet away. Tova was ignoring her as she is a well behaved old dog. I wondered if that doe had a fawn bedded down somewhere close to where I was. I didn’t stay too long for that reason and also because the storm clouds were building up. I heard some rumbling and as I was in a pretty open meadow, along the edge, I thought it would be prudent to high tail it out of there.

On the way down the road to home, I took some photos of the areas 8390 and 8391 from up above. You can see some new roads carved into the oak brush on the right side of the photo.9GoodOverview

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Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 8

I went near the parcel 8390 and also 8391 today. There were a lot of new gates and fences put up since spring. I know it wasn’t ranchers because they don’t waste their money on clearing every thing that is living away from a fence for 25 feet. There were big piles of bulldozed bushes all along the fence lines. Many of the fence lines went up and over the hills and disappeared in the scrub. And there were the ever present “No public access” signs on the gates.      7NoPublicAccess

To get to that area, I had to drive through an area that already has been subjected to extractive industry, namely coal mining. The mine is closed down now but its effects will continue. They put up these signs along the road as it could collapse at any moment from all the mine tunnels underneath it. 8MiningWarning That is going to happen pretty much forever. What are the long term negative effects of oil and gas drilling going to be on us who will still be here after the boom and bust cycle is in the bust phase?

There were some ranchers checking on their cattle. They were not friendly and in fact downright rude and to be honest, real shits. I know that speeding drivers have run into and killed a number of mother cows on that road lately but they don’t know me and I was not doing anything but pulling over and checking out the view. I drove off to another spot after they rode away on their horses. My guess is that lots of people are in that area due to the fracking roads drawing ATV drivers and 4X4-er’s. And they like to go fast when ever they can.

8cattleThree

These curious cattle will come over and pester me when I set up to paint and am not paying attention to them.

I did find there were grazing cow calf pairs everywhere. My experience with cattle is that the cows are super curious and come up to you when you least expect it – like really concentrating on part of a painting – and knock over you and your stuff. And they freak out when they see my dog because she reminds them of a little angus calf, being a black lab. So I didn’t even want to deal with that. I just took some photos today and will do some studio paintings of that area.

Keep up with the latest on Tree Hugging Cowgirl on my Instagram page at Plein Air Cedar

Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 7

I went with to another location, parcel 8140. But it was on private land in the middle of the National Forest land. That type of land ownership is not that unusual and its called Checker Board. But I was able to set up really close to that parcel and do a painting. Iwas near the road that goes from McClure Pass to Overland Reservoir. It was very busy with lots of big white trucks loaded with all sorts of equipment driving by us. I noticed the existing drilling sites that had storage tanks painted green. There were also gas and water pipelines buried along the roads and trailing up hill and dale.

This is only part of the tanks that I saw.

I got a good view of the Ragged Range with Chair Mountain being prominent. I also saw all the way over to Capitol and Snowmass peaks. I knew we were up high but despite the altitude, it was pretty hot outside.

Me, painting away

Some of the big trucks stopped to ask me what I was doing. When I said “I’m an artist, I’m painting” the drivers smiled and drove off. I think I did not seem threatening to anyone. Probably because a short old lady painting isn’t the archetypal villain. But there were threats to the environment up there. There was a shop for oil and gas activities with lots of trucks and equipment.

Here is the fracking shop.

There were lots of tanks, big dark green affairs with posted signs with threats on them regarding trespassing. Every time I spotted a set of tanks and then it went out of view, another set came into view almost . It was depressing.

And people are not the only thing that are threatened up in that area. Some one or several ones have been shooting cattle.

What kind of idiot shoots random cattle?

And not just cattle are being shot according to the warning on the sign. I was glad to finish up my little painting and leave that area.

Here is the quick little color study I did.

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Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 6

So this has been kind of depressing for me, going out to areas up for lease sale and plein air painting. I paint and think about fracking and destroying our environment and the disrespectful treatment of our Mother Earth.

I have decided to share some images of some of the silly things that go on when I go out to paint. I had to wear a bug net at one place because the mosquitoes were so thick. Then later on in the morning, I had to tuck my sleeves into my gloves to keep out the biting deer flies.

My dog is my best plein air assistant anyone could ask for. She has been faithfully laying on my gear and in the shade of my umbrellas for years now. She is getting kinda gray but with that comes her experience. And of course, being summer in Colorado, there is always some road construction. But a look in my rear view window shows more than a long line of waiting vehicles. There is a great view of the Ragged Range.

Keep up with the latest on Tree Hugging Cowgirl on my Instagram page at Plein Air Cedar

Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 5

I went plein air painting near lease sale area 8320. The end of the road was not very welcoming so I went back to the Hawsapple campground by the Paonia Reservoir. It was empty of people. The boat ramp was closed and I did see one person with a fishing boat driving out as I was going in on the road. But the water was so low in the reservoir that I don’t think it was safe for boating, thus the closure.

Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 4

I went plein air painting up Stevens Gulch. That is near lease sale area 8390. There was a lot of trash and a couple of elk skeletons scattered about. But I got a pretty good painting. It was a great day, weather wise. No bugs or high winds and not too hot or cold. That helped lift my spirits. I was thinking about how people treat Mother Earth so poorly. I hope they don’t treat their biological mothers that bad, but I know some do.

Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 3

I went plein air painting up Hubbard Creek. It is near lease sale area 8389. No one was there that morning. But lots of people had been. There was a big rock that was shot up at close range. That kinda freaked me out. But I plan to return to paint Hubbard Creek. We did have a big storm with flash floods and I think the one sketchy part of the road may have been washed out. I’ll take the truck up there next time to make sure I can get by that part.

Tree Hugging Cowgirl, 2

FrackMap

This is a map of the BLM land up for lease sale December 2018. I live very near here. In fact my home is just off the bottom left of the map.

I want to document what the areas are like before they are forever altered by fracking. As the map shows, much of the area is already under production or will be. It really makes me sad and keeps me from sleeping at night when I think about the environmental damage done to many of these beautiful areas. I am doing what I can to raise people’s awareness through this series of paintings and my posts on Instagram. Follow me at Plein Air Cedar to see the latest place I have been plein air painting.

I am also going to go into the studio with the plein air studies and create larger pieces. Both plein air and studio pieces will be in my December 2018 exhibits in Paonia at the Cirque and in Crested Butte at the Piper gallery in the Crested Butte Center for the Arts. I also plan to include the Western Slope Conservation Center at the Cirque. I am still waiting for some one from Crested Butte to get back to me regarding the ranchland conservation plein air paintings I want to do there.

Do what you can to make our world a cleaner, safer and kinder place. Take some form of positive action, how ever you can. I paint and then blog and post on Instagram. I am hoping you will do what you can.

Tree Hugging Cowgirl

I have started a new series of paintings in a group called “Tree Hugging Cowgirl”. I collaborating with the Western Slope Conservation Center in Paonia.

I am planning on going to places that are up for a lease sale by the BLM in December. These leases are for gas and oil drilling a.k.a. Fracking. They are very near where I live in Paonia. I am also going to go over to Crested Butte and paint the ranchlands areas that are in need of conservation as well as the ones that are already protected.

Not all of these areas are welcoming.

2StevensGulchKeepout

This is up Steven’s Gulch

3BearRanch2

Obviously no one is welcome here

1HubbardCreekSign

At least there is a trailhead at Hubbard Creek.

2StevensGulchTRash

Not everyone is respectful of our outdoors

I haven’t been thrown out of anywhere yet. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even seen anyone at these areas. I am going to post when I go out on Instagram, hopefully I’ll remember to blog, too. But I do get busy and overwhelmed at times.