Notes from 2023 11,000 km journey from the West to the East coast of the US: “Charles Russel Museum, we learnt that he began his career as a cowboy, rounding up cattle. Although he had never had a drawing lesson in his life, Russell decided to become an artist – drawing and painting Native Americans within their cultural context –  on horseback in their sacred wilderness. The result was very impressive and left me wondering why nobody has heard of him in Europe.

The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation in South Dakota  made a huge impact on both of us. We  gazed in amazement at the carved gigantic head of chief Crazy Horse atop the Thunderbird Mountain and learnt during our tour of this sculptural wonder how the Foundation first began. Chief Standing Bear met Polish immigrant sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski (1908-1982) in N.York and asked him to honour the memory of Native American Lakota Chief – Crazy Horse (1842-1877). Chief Standing Bear chose the site – Thunderbird Mountain and Korczak began sculpting in l948. His wife, Ruth, helped to establish and raise funds and run the Foundation – dedicated to Native American history and culture. All blasted mountain rock has been recycled into the building complex of the Foundation below, including the Welcome Center, a  Museum,an Educational & Training Center, a restaurant and the first India University of N. America, begun in 2010. 2 of Ziolkowski’s 10 children, 3 grand-children and a team of 18 – continue to complete the mighty sculpture of Chief Crazy Horse…

Ken walking though mighty conifers in Olympia National Park, Washington State - pen & wash 2023
Sketching Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, USA 2023
Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming, USA - pen & wash 2023
Happy sketching time at Newport Beach, Oregon 2023
Storm clouds gathering at Newport Beach, Oregon - pen & wash 2023
Happy sketching time in Redwood National Park, California 2023

Visiting the impressive displays at the Plains Indians Museum  in Montana, brought home to me how badly the original inhabitants of the US have been deceived by successive governments.  Native Americans have had their magnificent lands taken from them, their close way of life with Nature was destroyed and their struggle for sovereignty  has continued to this day: industrial, oil and mining projects are now continuing to pollute, threaten and invade their sacred areas. 


But one irresistible attraction was the magnificent bison that, for millenia, were central to the Native American culture and livelihood.  Although 30 million bison were almost wiped out by the continuous waves of European immigrants, I fell in love with these animals’ handsome, large heads and furry ankles….and were a joy to sketch!


This was indeed a memorable journey with Ken through the US: after 11,000 kms  of driving through some striking rock-formations in different US National Parks, visiting  several outstanding museums and discovering the significant heritage of Native Americans….it was all an enriching experience….unforgettable!”

Grand Teton National Monument, Wyoming, watercolour, 2023
Sketching bison from a safe distance…Montana 2023
Beautiful bison of the USA, pen & wash, 2023
Sketching the Grand Teton mountain range, Wyoming, 2023
Olympic National Park…seashore, pen & wash, 2023
Sketching view from Kalaloch Lodge, Olympics National Park, Washington State, 2023
Living and working for 5 years (1996-2001) in this land of great cultural and geological diversity, proved a stimulating and challenging environment – offering opportunities to experiment with different artistic media – particularly paper-making.
Dolly Sods, West Virginia, USA  (watercolour) 19 x 29cm - 2012
Inspiration Point, Anacalpa Island, Channel Islands, USA (pen & wash) 19 x 29cm - 2011