Category: Back Roads

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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Of man camps and mass destructionWatford City, ND

North Dakota oil fields sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I always embark on road trips with the expectation that I’m going to delight in what I see along the way. Mostly that’s the case—I’m interested in just about everything, and the road is always full of pleasant surprises. But while this blog mostly has been a collection of things I love, I also sketch… More

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The final tallyFlorida to Washington

Road trip map sketch by Chandler O'Leary

If you happen to follow along on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know I’ve just returned from a 4000+ mile road trip across the south and west of the county. One of the things I like to do at the end of a trip (and the end of my sketchbook) is a map and recap of… More

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No hurry, no worrySonoma County, CA

Alexander Valley sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Speaking of quiet moments, I had the luxury of what felt like all the time in the world to do this sketch. In reality the whole thing took me less than an hour, but in the moment it felt like time was stretching ahead of me to the horizon—just like the rows of grapevines below.

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Lone wandererBig Sur, CA

Big Sur sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I just got back from two and a half weeks of wandering in California—and by the time you read this, I’ll be on the road again, after just a few hours at home. The pre-trip scramble is never the most fun part of traveling, but I know that the trip ahead will have plenty of… More

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Baa ram eweBadlands National Park, SD

Badlands National Park sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Friday’s post got me thinking about other places where you can see (and sketch) wildlife that’s totally unfazed by your presence. And since we’re coming up on the beginning of the Year of the Sheep, the Badlands zoomed right to the top of the list today.

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Sealed with a kissSan Simeon, CA

Elephant seals sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’ve never done Highway One in the summer, so I’ve never seen it the way most people do—choked with tourists and traffic. I prefer to see the coast highway in the winter, where the only teeming hordes to contend with are those of the pinniped variety. The elephant seal breeding ground on the Big Sur… More

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In seasonCentral and Napa valleys, CA

California almond orchard sketch by Chandler O'Leary

One thing I always look forward to about driving to California is watching the seasons change as I go. It never ceases to amaze me that you can go from winter… …to spring, sometimes in the course of a single hour. These two sketches were done on the same day, just over 60 miles apart…. More

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Folds and faultsNear Cambria, CA

California sketch by Chandler O'Leary

If you were to page through my California sketchbooks, you’d think I had some serious A.D.D.—thematically they’re all over the place, because the state just has so many different things that interest me. But what I keep coming back to, time and time again, are the landscapes themselves. There is just something about the hills… More

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California or bustDunsmuir, CA

California Theatre sign sketch by Chandler O'Leary

As it turned out, I didn’t get to do a whole lot of traveling last year—which was a bit of an adjustment, especially compared with previous years. It’s looking like 2015, though, is going to be another big travel year—which to me feels more like normal life. Tomorrow morning I’m hitting the road again …… More

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