Field Sketching at Buffalo Peaks Ranch


Pages from Sherrie York’s sketchbook, Buffalo Peaks Ranch

Field sketching is a valuable tool for artists, scientists, gardeners, and anyone who wants to know more about the world around them. Even if you think you can’t draw a straight line, you can keep visual field notes.

We are thrilled to have artist Sherrie York return to Buffalo Peaks Ranch for the third summer in a row. The ranch is a wonderful place to explore, observe, and sketch. You will practice several basic drawing and observation skills including contour, memory, and gesture drawing, plus explore ideas for filling the blank page. Non-artists welcome and encouraged! (Ages 14 to Adult).

For much more on Sherrie York’s work, be sure to visit her visually stunning website!

The Illustrated Journal with Sherrie York

Saturday, August 19th, 9am to 2pm,  $50 class fee

Click Here to Register!


Sherrie York leading a class through figure drawing exercises, Buffalo Peaks Ranch.

y-Kerry's field

And the day will include plenty of time to sketch across the ranch.


Join us at Buffalo Peaks Ranch on August 19th!



Join us at Denver’s RedLine Gallery!


Join us for LAND TRUST, a new RedLine Exhibit

The Rocky Mountain Land Library will be part of an exciting new exhibit at Denver’s RedLine Gallery, 2350 Arapahoe. Land Trust features socially engaged art exploring land and place. It’s an attempt to slow down and get our feet back on solid ground, to explore the cultural practices that connect us physically and spiritually to the world, and to look squarely at the human effects of environmental change, The exhibition includes artwork by Ryan Feddersen, Megan Gafford, Brian House, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Daisy Patton, Becky Wareing Steele, and Tory Tepp.

 Come see the Land Library’s book spiral with hundreds of books from our collection, and join us for the launch of our first nature-in-the-city outreach, the Cloud Atlas Project. This will be the start of an ongoing celebration of Denver’s cloudscape.

 Often overlooked, the daily procession of clouds gives us an ever-changing glimpse of the natural world. As Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society writes, “Clouds are nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them.
August 11-27, with an Opening Reception on August 11th, 6-9pm
RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe.

Clouds rolling in Denver’s direction, from South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch

Foraging Across the Ranch: a Land Art Workshop

buff15 (1 of 1)

Foraging Across the Land: a two-day Workshop with Rik Sargent

Join us and be a part of an immersive, on-site creation at Buffalo Peaks Ranch. Accompanied by artist and sculptor Rik Sargent, we will collaborate on a yet-to-be-determined story inspired by the ranch, the surrounding land, and the South Platte River, whose flow has always defined the story of this historic high mountain ranch.

The emerging  narrative will then be assembled into a landscape piece, using the ranch’s materials to help tell a story of land and people, South Park and beyond.

Spend a weekend (July 29-30) at the Ranch camping, foraging, and collaborating on a project that will become part of Buffalo Peaks Ranch’s always changing, always evolving story!

Saturday, July 29th thru Sunday July 30th, $100 class fee


At the beginning of the workshop weekend we’ll start with the “local” material:


Like any working ranch, Buffalo Peaks Ranch has accumulated what some might think of as refuse, but what others see as artifacts of shape, texture, color, and design.


Not to mention, artifacts of work, daily lives and struggle.


And then, there’s always wire, lots of wire!


Barbed and baling wire aplenty.


With all the local elements in place, and the landscape as our guide, who knows what will be created at Buffalo Peaks Ranch on July 29-30th??


Rik Sargent has created incredible pieces of public art equally emphasizing the sculpture itself and the environment it rests in. His voice has lent wonderful insight around the Land Library’s table, and now up at Buffalo Peaks Ranch.


For more on Rik Sargent, and his work, be sure to visit his website!

Cyanotype Impressions of a High Mountain Ranch


In the Footsteps of Anna Atkins: Simple Photographic Botanical Illustration

a day-long workshop with Jacqueline Webster

In 1843, British author and botanist Anna Atkins published the first book illustrated with photography, called British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. Using a simple iron-based photographic process invented by Sir John Herschel, Atkins made beautiful, simple blue print photograms of specimens with handwritten identification labels that she self-published in three volumes.

y-Ann's grass!!

Buffalo Peaks Ranch

Join photographer Jacqueline Webster for a day of creating your own cyanotype botanical illustrations using the same process Atkins employed nearly 175 years ago. We’ll start the day learning the basics and history of the cyanotype process, then move on to some basics of plant identification and collection. Finally we’ll work on creating our own photographic records of the flora found onsite at Buffalo Peaks Ranch.

Saturday, July 29th, 10am to 4pm,  $50 class fee


The Rocky Mountain Land Library is excited to offer this workshops at a 20% discount (just use Discount Code: PHOTO20 when you register)!

y-Kerry's field

Buffalo Peaks Ranch, by the Lambing Barn

Jacqueline Webster is a photographer and arts educator who has been working in historic photographic processes for more than 30 years. She has shown her work at galleries and festivals around the country, and is currently a faculty member at the Art Students League of Denver.


Jacqueline Webster, Three Silos, cyanotype.


For more on Jacqueline Webster, be sure to visit her website!


And for much more on the pioneering work of Anna Atkins, this article in The Guardian is a good place to start!


Google doodle on the occasion of Anna Atkins’ 216th birthday

Ways to Tell a Story


Andrew Beckham, at work on his book The Lost Christmas Gift. photo by the Denver Post

A wide-ranging workshop at Buffalo Peaks Ranch:

Storytelling with Image and Text with Andrew Beckham

Join photographer and author Andrew Beckham for a day of literary and visual exploration. While the worlds of literature and visual art have traditionally been seen as discrete disciplines, Mr. Beckham’s dynamic approach to storytelling has long sought to bring text and image together as a unified aesthetic whole. This workshop will provide a wealth of ideas and approaches for combining your own text and image ideas, with time in the field to explore, photograph, write, and contemplate how our own stories arise from experiences in the natural world.

Saturday, July 8th, 10am to 4pm,  $50 class fee.


A Vortex of Brambles — Andrew Beckham

Andrew Beckham serves as the Visual Arts Department Chair at St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood, Colorado, where he teaches aesthetics, photography, works on paper and the illustrated book. In recent years Andrew has devoted much of his creative practice to the design and construction of artist’s books, some of which have been placed in the Special Collections Departments at both the Penrose Library at the University of Denver and the Norlin Library at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Two of these books, The Lost Christmas Gift and Firmament, have been acquired by enthusiastic publishers (Princeton Architectural Press and GFT Publishing) who have helped to bring his work to a much wider audience.


In the fall of 2013, Andrew Beckham’s first solo museum exhibition was installed in the Taylor Museum at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.


Pleiades Rising — Andrew Beckham

 “Andrew Beckham is a lot of things, but I would consider him a visual poet, using language both written and visual to construct nuanced work that is compelling, fragile, and poignant.” — Aline Smithson, Lenscratch

For more on Andrew Beckham and his work, be sure to visit his website!

By the Light of a Coleman Lantern: The Alaskan Field Sketches of William D. Berry


Bill’s field sketches were his record of what he saw. They were done in the field, but often finished hours later in the cabin, sometimes by the light of a Coleman lantern. — Elizabeth Berry

How much do we love this book? Well, every time we stumble across a copy of William D. Berry’s Alaskan Field Sketches in a secondhand bookstore, we let out a yelp, and then dutifully, and without question, purchase yet another copy for future generations of Land Library readers, naturalists, and visiting artists.

William D. Berry: 1954-1956 Alaskan Field Sketches (edited by Elizabeth Berry) preserves over 200 pages of Berry’s meticulous and faithful drawings from nature. A wide variety of Alaska’s wildlife is fully rendered by Berry, among them: beaver, lemming, moose, wolverine, Dall sheep, Willow ptarmigan, Arctic tern, Snowshoe hare, wolf, walrus, lynx, Arctic ground squirrel, Snow bunting — along with twenty-four pages devoted to caribou, that most iconic of arctic animals:


Elizabeth Berry (William’s wife) provides commentary throughout, and we especially loved this insight into the artist as a young boy: “Bill completed his first book — on slugs — when he was five.”

William Berry (1929-1979) left relatively few finished works, but we should be satisfied with this classic collection containing a wealth of materials from his field sketches, notebooks, and letters.

Berry also wrote two of our all-time favorite children’s picture books:



Two treasured volumes at the Land Library’s Waterton Canyon Kids Library are William Berry’s wonderful prairie book, Buffalo Land, and Deneki: An Alaskan Moose (pictured above). Plus, you guessed it, one of those used bookstore “eureka-finds” of William D. Berry: 1954-1956 Alaskan Field Sketches!

Grizzly Bear Ursus arctos (2 of 11 pages devoted to Alaska’s bears).


Red Fox Vulpes vulpes

Bill’s fascination, and sometimes obsession, with recording the working processes of the natural world filled up most of his time….His joy in life came from observing and drawing living things; he saw amazing details in the most drab creature or place.  Elizabeth Berry



For more on William D. Berry, be sure to visit the Berry Studio website!

Two New Artist Workshops at the Ranch!


Rhythm II by Brian Napier

We are excited to announce the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s first Summer 2017 Workshop at Buffalo Peaks Ranch:


This is a conceptually focused course discussing the role that artists can play in the rapidly evolving conversation with our environment. The course will dive into issues ecology, sustainability, and environmental activism through the lens of leading contemporary artists today. Students will have a chance to openly discuss strategies that can be used in the creation of ecological conscious art, as well was brainstorm their own ideas in how to make artwork dealing with the local environment of Colorado. This course will be split evenly between lecture, discussion, and hands on project drafting.

Saturday, June 10th, 10am to 4pm,  $50 class fee.


Brian Napier is a Denver artist whose work has been featured in several galleries, and in Westword, and Garo. Brian artist statement reads: “My work exists in the indifferent nature of nature. Examining the existential play of human beings and the debris left in our wake.”

A native of the Oklahoma plains, Brian moved to California where he quickly fell in love with his natural surroundings and with the Earth’s ability to relieve stress and create new perspective. — Kristopher Wright, Odessa

Late spring snows and driving rain forced us to postpone Meghan Wilbar’s Drawing Landscape class. Here’s your second chance to sign up! 



This daylong workshop will focus on the process of seeing and translating the experience of the landscape in simplified shapes and colors. You will explore a drawing technique that combines elements of collage, pencil line drawing and ink washes to emphasize space and movement within a landscape. This will be a outdoor workshop, with all materials included.

Saturday, June 24th, 10am to 4pm,  $50 class fee.



Meghan Wilbar received her BA from Knox College and her MFA from the New York Studio School. She has been awarded several fellowships for artist residencies and has her work in private and public collections. She currently lives and works in Denver. For more, view Meghan’s website here.

For Meghan, the landscape provides inspiration, emotional and spatial relationships, and an overall connection to the human experience. She aims to squeeze an expansive landscape into a compressed, tension-filled space. The result: the landscape’s own experience of reality. Each painting is conceived through a series of on-site drawings. The drawings extract form, movement, and space in simple shades of white, brown, and black. The process of painting integrates the shapes from the drawings into the dialogue of paint. The application of layers, washes, and drips of oil paint furthers the exploration of the emotive quality of the landscape.

“The natural world holds the key to abstraction through the dance between colliding forms and the interchange of negative and positive space, light and color. I use this natural abstraction to create paintings that evoke the experiences one has within one’s surroundings. The paintings are brief histories of moments constantly shifting, reorganizing to reveal the underlying structure in the landscape.” – Meghan Wilbar

We’ll have plenty of thought-provoking books on hand for all our summer workshops!