« Return to this article

Know the West

Watercolor habitats: An observation of light and color

An artist portrays the greens of mountain lakes and oranges of sandstone arches.


From the green waters of Diablo Lake in Washington’s North Cascades National Park to the orange sandstone of Arches National Park in Utah, Molly Hashimoto captures the beauty of Western ecosystems in Colors of the West. The book features her plein air watercolors of the wildlife and landscapes she’s encountered in the parks, monuments, wilderness areas and refuges scattered across the region.

Hashimoto’s observations on natural history and recollections of light, color and specific scenes accompany the images. For readers interested in heading outside with a sketchpad, she includes a short tutorial on painting in natural settings. Tips on technique and short profiles of other artists whose work Hashimoto finds inspiring are sprinkled throughout the book. It’s important to observe and record the details of the landscape, she writes, “but even more vitally, to communicate to others the value of these places.”

Colors of the West
By Molly Hashimoto
192 pages, hardcover: $24.95. Mountaineers Books, 2017.