One of my favorite ways of taking stock of a year is to dig though all the photos I took and be reminded of all the beautiful things I saw. It’s my job to get outside and find pretty places, so getting out there is something I take pretty seriously. I rode my bike a couple thousand miles this year on beautiful trails, and spent countless hours hiking, snowshoeing, and driving to find the right scenes to paint.
Here are a few of my favorite places from 2015. Maybe not the most beautiful photos I took (and every single one is a low quality cell phone snap), but these are the ones I look at that remind me of moments and places that captured my heart.
I took this photo while I was out painting with some friends in January. It was unseasonably warm, but we headed up Bear Creek Canyon out of Evergreen, found ourselves some snow and good light, and set to work. I love days like this – hanging out with other painters, throwing around ideas about art, getting some work done, and breathing in fresh air in the middle of winter. I love my job.
This shot is from the top of Evergreen Mountain, my favorite local spot. I climb this trail on my bike a couple times a week when the weather is good, and this was the first year I realized I could pedal up there in the snow too. Heaven!
This was outside of Moab, Utah as we road-tripped home from our annual spring break trip to Arizona. We hit Moab at dinnertime, and I could tell the light would be good, so I convinced my family to eat in the car and keep driving so I could snap some photos of the Colorado at sunset. It’s a good thing they put up with me.
Front range at sunset. Need I say more? I live in the mountains, but this view will always say home to me.
It was a wet spring. Like, REALLY wet. We all got a little bit stir-crazy as the rain came down and the trails all turned to mud, but the moisture turned the park in my backyard into a cool place full of lush green grass and hidden waterfalls. This is a mile from my house – that stream is normally just a trickle.
Sunset from the trail on Green Mountain. Being outside at sunset in the summer is probably one of my favorite things in the world. I love to paint that last light. I love being out there on my bike with a group of friends, racing the sunset to the car. I love the way the last light of the day transforms a sort of mundane scene into something perfect.
I think July was the busiest month of the year, and looking back, I hardly took any photos! Lots of adventures, little time to stop and smell the roses, I guess? This is Cedar Lake, Indiana – my husband spent his summers here growing up, and we took our kids back for a week in early July. It’s one of those places where you can still let your kids roam the neighborhood on bikes.
Sunset from the top of Rollins Pass, Winter Park, CO. I had an art show in Winter Park in August, and we had some friends visiting from Michigan, so we all headed up to Grand County for the weekend and got our high altitude fix. The last night up there, we all hiked around above treeline while the sun went down. Standing on top of the world.
Trail 401 – Crested Butte. Yellow aspens for miles, my favorite trail, and an awesome new bike. Need I say more?
I took a solo trip to Glacier National Park for a couple of days at the start of October, so I could gather some reference material for a show. It was great – I think I was there during peak color, and the park was practically empty. I spent a couple of days sketching and taking photos to my heart’s content. I think I have enough material now to do a few years worth of paintings.
We had some heavy snow and a cold snap in November, and it was like a winter wonderland for about a week. I love having a fatbike for riding in the snow – it gets me outside when I otherwise would be happy to hide away inside by the fire, so I don’t miss out on scenes like this one.
Another month where we did so much, I hardly stopped to take a picture. This is the view from Flying J park in Conifer at sundown on a perfect day.
Overall, 2015 was a rollercoaster of a year. Lots of rough times mixed in with some truly amazing moments. These are some of the ones that will stay with me. Here’s to many more beautiful moments in 2016!!