Category: Back Roads

On the banksNear Old Town, FL

Suwannee River sketch by Chandler O'Leary

When Mary-Alice and I hatched our Florida trip earlier this year, I made a point of not planning any destinations ahead of time. I wanted to be surprised by what we found along the road. One of the many surprises that day was crossing the famous “Swanny”. An even better surprise (for me) was what… More

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Lonely outpostNear Soledad, CA

Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad sketch by Chandler O'Leary

This is the thirteenth installment of my Mission Mondays series, exploring all 21 Spanish Missions along the California coast. You can read more about this series, and see a sketch map of all the missions, at this post. The “Soledad” in Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad means “solitude.” And boy howdy, is that ever… More

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Mountain missionNear Jolon, CA

Mission San Antonio de Padua sketch by Chandler O'Leary

This is the twelfth installment of my Mission Mondays series, exploring all 21 Spanish Missions along the California coast. You can read more about this series, and see a sketch map of all the missions, at this post. Note: At the time of my visit, the façade of the building was ensconced in scaffolding. I… More

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BirdlandCentral Valley, CA

Central Valley, CA sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’ve written about California’s Central Valley before, and I have a feeling it’ll come up again. But there are just so many things to love about the place. Perhaps the best part of all is the birdwatching. The Central Valley is a main thoroughfare along the Pacific Flyway, and hosts thousands upon thousands of both… More

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Goonie weekendAstoria and Cannon Beach, OR

Old Clatsop County Jail sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’m a bit of a movie nut—especially for anything shot on location. I’m a sucker for films that center around real places—and Astoria, OR has featured prominently in so many movies that the entire town has become a cinema icon. This Sunday marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the 1980s free-range-kid classic, The… More

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Blown awayMount Saint Helens, WA

Mount Saint Helens sketch by Chandler O'Leary

At precisely 8:32 am local time, 35 years ago today, Mount Saint Helens erupted. I wasn’t around for it—I wasn’t even quite born yet. But I’ve had a thing for volcanoes ever since I moved to the Northwest, so St. Helens has never been far off my radar. The funny thing is, it’s taken me… More

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Steeple chaseNear Jupiter, NC

North Carolina steeples sketch by Chandler O'Leary

You probably know by now that when I draw in my sketchbook, I’m usually looking to fill a whole page spread with a finished scene. Sometimes, though, that’s just not possible. On the day I made this sketch, I was riding in the back seat of a rideshare van, craning my neck to catch any… More

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Color theorySkagit Valley, WA

Skagit Valley tulip fields sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Well, I got my wish. Friday morning ended up being the perfect time to visit the tulip fields. I spent the whole morning in the valley, and over an hour in just this spot. And to make the moment last just a little longer, I bought a little bit of the Skagit Valley to bring… More

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