Colors of the West: An Artist's Guide to Nature's Palette

Colors of the West: An Artist's Guide to Nature's Palette

by Molly Hashimoto


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Learn to observe, sketch, and paint nature from an award-winning outdoor artist and art teacher

  • Explains how to “see” color depending on time of day, season, atmosphere, and more
  • More than 170 illustrations, featuring iconic national parks
  • Improve your nature painting skills or learn a fun new hobby you can do outdoors

Colors of the West explores wild places through the lens of watercolor “en plein air” painting, a French term meaning literally “in the open air.” Steeped in the natural world, award-winning artist Molly Hashimoto has sketched in the outdoors and worked as a plein air artist and teacher for more than 20 years. In that time she has filled more than 40 sketchbooks with landscapes, vignettes, studies of flora and fauna, and natural history notes—all created while visiting some of the West’s most stunning landscapes.

This new book is organized by color, a unique approach to teaching both intermediate and budding artists how to really see color in the outdoor spaces around them, and then apply it to journals, other art projects, or simply beautiful memories. The average person can see 17,000 colors (!), so Molly explains the concept of palette, that is the range of colors that unites elements of geography, geology, and the different kinds of light created by atmosphere, season, and latitude. Molly’s own hand‐drawn sketches and paintings of familiar Western landscapes help convey these colors, along with sidebars and insets on individual species (trees, birds, mammals, and other flora and fauna) and historical notes related to the park or site she has sketched. Tips and techniques for outdoor journaling and painting are included throughout.

From the green hues found on Cascade Head on the Oregon Coast and in Yellowstone’s quaking aspens, to the reds that highlight the rocks in Arches National Park and the the giant sequoias in California, readers and artists of all levels will learn a new appreciation for the colors of the West—and how the details of natural beauty can be revealed when we stop, observe, and pay attention to the outdoor world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781680510973
Publisher: Mountaineers Books, The
Publication date: 09/01/2017
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 307,554
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Molly Hashimoto is dedicated to connecting people of all ages to nature through hands-on art experiences. She teaches and leads plein air watercolor workshops around the West, including at the North Cascades Institute, Yellowstone Forever Institute, and Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Molly lives in Seattle, Washington. Visit her online at

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