Drawing Yuma: Desert Oasis


A recent trip to Yuma, AZ, took me to the University of Arizona’s Extension Demonstration Garden also known as the “Moody Garden” (love it) after Robert J Moody, long time UofA extension agent to Yuma.

Naturally this blossom catches my eye so I sit down to draw it. (Draw whatever catches your eye.)

Normally it is over 100 degrees in Yuma at this time of year and too hot to draw this…a rare opportunity indeed. DSC_0078 Later I make a photo copy and color it in. I’m going for the strong luminous and iridescent quality of the trichocereus bloom. Colored pencil is easy to layer to attempt to get just the right color. Perhaps that’s why it is often a chosen medium for flower blossoms. Good luck!

Colored pencil is good for just figuring color out.DSC_0079 Continuing to take advantage of the unbelievably fabulous weather,  I set out to do something I’ve always dreamed of. Draw Yuma!

I start with the backyard (that’s as far as I get-this takes time you know).

This is my Mom’s garden, she is a long time Yuma MGM Extension Garden and Yuma Garden Club patroness…


 “unstitched” photo panorama


Eight 10×10 panels into the pen and ink drawing.

Below close up shows two different times of day. Each panel has a little over an hours’ worth of work and was made at different times of day over two days.

I want color for this too but will use gouache (opaque watercolor) instead of colored pencil.

Hey, I just saw that Christy Olsen is offering a gouache class at The Drawing Studio in June, just the ticket for me, since I don’t know the secrets of gouache, yet. Stay tuned.DSC_0081

Not pictured in the composite is the third and upper tier which includes the almost top of the looming Guamuchil tree on the right back (in photo).

The Mexican Guamuchil,  Pithecellobium dulce,  produces sweet astringent fruits in its seed pods.

This subtropical tree won’t grow in Tucson, one must pilgrimage to experience firsthand.


Pod, fruit, and seed of Pithecellobium dulce, Yuma, AZ

Yuma is so exciting.

Other amazing places to draw include the Colorado River Delta West Wetlands, Yuma Prison Hill, Old Train and Train Trestle, Betty’s Kitchen Wildlife Area, Mitry Lake, Date Palms, King Of Arizona (KOFA) Mine Wilderness Area, The Yuma Dunes….the list goes on.

And, for the art-interested, the spacious and modern Yuma Art Center, 254 S. Main Street,  in old town Yuma. This is a wonderful (did I say spacious) exhibition area.

Current show is the Southwestern Invitational 2015 “An exhibit of exceptional contemporary Arizona artists”. April 10-May 30.


Yuma…a secret paradise…discover it…later.  (it’s too hot now).

10 thoughts on “Drawing Yuma: Desert Oasis

  1. Really nice drawings all around- drawing what you know and love makes so much sense and difference to the outcome. Miss you- Miller

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