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CoMA Salida

Look at this… two sketchy posts in one week! I must have a very interesting life all of a sudden. This past weekend, myself and 3 of my metal-working companions levered ourselves into an extended-cab pickup and drove 22 hours to Salida, Colorado (pronounced just like ‘saliva’) to hear the incomparable Albert Paley deliver a 3 hour keynote presentation to the Colorado Metalsmiths Association (CoMA). More on that later. It turns out that the host town of Salida is a great little artsy town with a vision for preserving their heritage buildings, creating usable public spaces for people, and thinking progressively about re-working relic buildings into resources, as well as more cruiser bikes than anywhere I’ve ever been. There were so many good buildings I didn’t have time to draw even a fraction of them, but I did take a few photos for later revisiting, and below are three sketches I did get down in my moleskine. This first sketch is an old brick building called the ‘Steam Plant’ which gives us a not-so-subtle clue about it’s heritage. The building was converted into a community theatre and conference centre and this is where our conference was held. The plaza in front of the building was bordered by large natural stones stepping down to the creek where a kayak course was set up. The second is a quick sketch of a really interesting window dressing on the second story of one of the old brick buildings. The trim was painted in bright blues and yellows which contrasted nicely with the deep red of the brick, giving a very cheerful feel to this building. The theme was repeated throughout downtown so the old brick buildings didn’t look run-down and monochrome. There were splashes of colour all over that lent the whole scene a vitality. The final one was a cool alley view that opened up off one of the main streets of downtown. There must have been a brick plant nearby in the heyday of this mining town (mostly gold and silver, i think) because nearly every building in the downtown core was built with this same colour brick. The brick layers appeared to be given some latitude because the edges, windows, and roof peaks all had simple but effective patterns, accents, and motifs made out of brick that set them apart from repeating brick boxes. This alley had a great ‘bridge’ that went from one side to the other on the second story.


  1. I love these sketches you are doing!

  2. Thanks Shari. I find it relaxing to do these improv. sketches with no planning, just pen to paper. It’s also good training for the eye to continue to learn not just to look, but to see.

  3. Ian Hepher

    Very cool, Mike…I see these on the screen, and then I look at my wall and see a tractor in a snowy field, circa Grade 7, and The Biggest Truck in the World, circa ???…many gifts you bring…

  4. Pops. The snowy field was sometime in high school, I think. And the truck was only 8 years or so ago. I can’t remember exactly. I like to drawr.

  5. Monica LM

    Hello! I love your sketches! I hope you can share more sketches with us 🙂 , best wishes from Mexico!

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  1. By Creativisualist » Blog Archive » How much wood could a wood cut cut? 21 Dec ’10 at 1:10 pm

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