Day Four: National Park Sketchbook

As we rolled across Nebraska, following a very low Platt River, toward the rocky mountains of Wyoming, a flood of memories triggered a complex sensation of love, sadness, wonder and gratitude. I saw five springs hit the great divide, from age 21-26 (1975-1980). This 10 day return trip saw some surprising changes. Stay tuned for more live sketches and observations…

Sinks Canyon scan2

Wind River near Dubois

Devils Tower 5 min sketch

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Hot and live sketches! Five National Parks in Ten Days.

Here are a few pages from my National Park Sketchbook the past 2 weeks. Returning to the land of my college days produced strong emotions and some shocking changes. Stay tuned.

Shoshoni in MacDolalds72

This scene in Lander caught my eye. A few days later, I heard a powerful speech by a Crow indian National Park ranger at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana. He told the true story that was passed down from eye witness stories of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. What I heard and saw last week moved me in ways difficult to explain in words.


National parks map route72

Medicine Bow Peak sketch

I spoke German to a hiking Swedish couple while I sketched this.

Tanook at Devils Tower

This sketch is of our magical campsite at Devils Tower. Tanook’s happiest campsite.


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My son asked. She said “yes!”

Over a year ago, on Tybee Island, my son asked Julie Rooks to be his bride. The wedding is now only a month away. This watercolor sketch was scanned from my journal and is the cover of the wedding invitation. (Un dessin indique mille mots.)

Wedding sketch front 72

…and here is the back of the invitation:

Wedding sketch back72

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Happy birthday National Park Service!

Come celebrate on August 19th at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area headquarters and see a preview viewing of my Park Service commissioned painting (detail  below). Free bar-b-que and beer! Only 36 spots left. Be my guest by contacting me at  .

Event sponsored by Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy, Inc.

Heron detail with logo72


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Happy Birthday National Park Service! Celebrate August 19!

Fisherman detail with logo72Come celebrate on August 19. Free but limited spots. (Filling up fast!) RSVP today on link below. Check out my full painting in person!

Heron tweaked beak

Above, detail from my 17″x 51″ panorama “7:00 am East Palisades, Chattahoochee River” for the National Park Service


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Preview unveiling tomorrow!

For those who are on the mountain tomorrow, stop by the Cumming/Preston house from 3:00-6:00 to get a peek at this epic National Park Service assignment; 60″ wide panorama of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (also new paintings of Tate). Below is a detail. Official exhibit opening at park headquarters at Island Ford this fall.

Heron detail with logo

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Private unveiling this Saturday!

This is a detail from my National Park Service panorama painting commemorating the 2016 Centennial celebration. I caught this heron n flight from my canoe at 7;00 a.m. on May 30th at  East Palisades on the Chattahoochee. Heron in flight72

The resolution is blurry because my painting is so big (17″x51″) I had to shoot details with my iPhone.

fly fisherman72


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Happy birthday National Park Service!

National Park detail1

“Chattahoochee River, East Palisades, 7:00 a.m” (detail), pastel on board, 17″x 51″

This is a detail of my National Park Service assignment. Exhibit opening is this fall at the park headquarters at Island Ford. Private unveiling at the Cumming/Preston house next Saturday. Stay tuned!

East Palisades detail1

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Just finished my first album cover!

Neolithic couple new 72

The assignment was to paint a neolithic couple in embrace, based on the 6,000-year-old skeletons found recently in a Greek cave. The first google image references I thought of was Fred  Flintstone and Rachael Welch in “One Millions B.C.”

Album cover 72

36 years as a professional illustrator and I get my first album cover assignment now that the music industry is imploding. Ahurissant!

The band is Atlanta’s own “DK and the Hoop Snakes” and their first album is called “numbered all my bones”

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Opening exhibit reception a gala event!

Muhtar Kent 72

Ellen Kennerly

Gallery director, and my former editor at the AJC, Ellen Kennerly at the opening reception

Guests at reception

Guests admiring Walter Cumming’s original illustrations

Hugh Mackay

Master letterpress and scratchboard illustrator Hugh Mackay standing by one of his original scratch board illustrations. Mackay and Walter Cumming are both trained at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (of Talking Head’s David Burns fame)

My sketchbook under glass

Walter Cumming’s courtroom sketchbook under glass.



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