In the time before cell phones and digital photography, landscape painters introduced Americans to the spectacular geographical features hidden away in little explored corners of the country. In doing so, they inspired others to see the beauty and importance of protecting these lands, helping to drive the creation of dozens of national parks. Today, the U.S. National Park System encompasses 423 sites, spanning more than 84 million acres.
Fresh Breeze at Old Point Loma Light House (Cabrillo National Monument)
2020, watercolor, 6 x 8 in.
Isis in the Evening Light (Grand Canyon National Park)
2016, watercolor, 11 x 14 in.
Cottonwoods on the Dunes (Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore)
2018, watercolor, 16 x 20 in.
“The amazing sand dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan rise 400 vertical feet from the edge of Lake Michigan,” says Susan Lynn. “Clusters of Cottonwood trees cling to them, in constant danger of toppling as the sand erodes out from under their roots. To me, one of the best things about our National Parks system is the preservation of places like this that are rare, uniquely beautiful, and awe-inspiring.”
The Bath House (Hot Springs National Park)
2006, watercolor, 11 x 15 in.
“I was honored to be an artist in residence at Hot Springs National Park one summer,” says Catherine Hillis. “It’s an unusual park, featuring the old bath houses that the town grew around. The buildings are historic, and I did go into the bath houses to participate. I figure if I’m going to paint something, I’d better learn what it’s all about.”
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