Saturday, June 14, 2008

BAK 2008 Sketches

For the last 7 days I've been pedaling my way across Kansas with some 800 other bicycling enthusiasts on the "BAK" (Biking Across Kansas). We completed our journey today in Atchison, KS. We were spared from the tumultuous weather that whirled around us and for that I am thankful, but my prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones or have been left homeless. Thanks too, for those who prayed for our safety.

"South of US36"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

This was my first attempt of the trip. I set up on the crest of a hill where I could see the bikers filing past on US 36. I would join them again, soon enough.

Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 5.5"x11"

Just southeast of Atwood I spotted this scene and set up on a dirt road. When I left I notice numerous burrs sticking to my front wheel. Pulling them out, I heard the ominous "pssssss" sound. Fortunately the tire held until I got back to the school where I spent the next hour patching holes (four that night and one the next day). I learned my lesson about off-roading in western Kansas!

"Solomon River at Beloit"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

The Solomon River was running high and the barn swallows were busy collecting supper as I sketched this scene (I think that's what they were). Near the end of the drawing session a white-tail doe slipped into the woods in the bottom left corner of the picture.

"South of Smith Center"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 5.5"x11"

After an exhilarating (exhosting) climb on US 281, south of Smith Center, we were greeted with this stunning panorama.

"Granary in Norton"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

We'll I'm pretty certain this was in Norton. Maybe someone can confirm this for me. I should have kept better records. The strong shadow crossing the street was from the cylindrical grain silos off to the right.

"Stubble Field"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

I found this beautiful scene just outside Smith Center. It was a clear day and the early morning sun racked across the field revealing glorious colors. As I packed to leave a stray cow emerged from the woods at right and moseyed across the field.

"Looking East"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 5.5"x11"

The morning was somewhat misty as we headed North out of Beloit on highway 14, but by the time I started drawing, the sun had broken creating strong contrasts and colors.

"Four miles from Horton"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

Most of my sketching was well off the BAK route, but this view was only a few yards from Prairie Road, near US 73. To the two young ladies who stopped at the intersection to apply more sunscreen, a few more minutes and I could have added you to the picture. :)

BAK is an amazing undertaking of planning, organization and cooperation. It provides people like myself, the opportunity to experience Kansas in a unique way and share in the experiences of others along the way. I have been inspired and enriched by the people I've met.

Among my goals for BAK was a personal challenge to produce at least one sketch per day. The Kansas landscape provided plenty of inspiration. If you were a BAK participant you may recognize some of the scenes.


  1. I followed the link from the BAK website to your post, and I just wanted to say thanks for posting these (and creating them, too)- they're beautiful! Wish I could have been out there with you all, bicycling and enjoying the Kansas scenery. Maybe next year! :)


  2. zmh,

    Thank you for your comment. It was a great experience. I hope it works out for you next year.

  3. Is that a sketch from Norcatur? I stopped there for water and took a picture from what I'm guessing is the other side. Absolutely beautiful work. You do the Kansas countryside great justice.

  4. Your sketches are wonderful! Don't get to see Kansas from this aspect often.