An illustrated map of Colorado: loving where you live

Colorado Map, by Karen Gillis Taylor, mixed media and digital art

I love maps! This love traces back to 6th grade when I designed my first “pretend” brochures for a class project report on the islands of Grenada and Martinique. (Pay attention when your 11-year-old gets really interested in something at school, it could show where she is headed in life!) Later, when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico in freelance illustration days, my dream assignment came: paint watercolor maps for the monthly travel feature in New Mexico Magazine, showcasing a certain area of the state. I also illustrated a map of the Holy Land for a children’s Sunday School course, complete with vignettes of important events. Ah, the love of history and the Bible got some exercise with that.

I made this map for fun, out of love of my home state of Colorado. Its quotes from Hal Borland’s book, When the Legends Die, mean a lot to me as a part of our Native American heritage.

The shape of Colorado is like a picture, framed. People living on the plains always know their directions because the mountains are due west. So comforting. If you live IN the mountains, you have to know a little more about how to get around, which says something about the rugged individuals living with that challenge. I-25 bisects the state, represented by a rope in the image, a bow to the days of cowboys and cattle drives.

The giant peaks are dramatic in real life, if you see them from the right places. I show all the major rivers which are born in the Rockies and go all the way to the Pacific and way far away in other directions. The Colorado River made that little spot called the Grand Canyon. You can go see the humble place where the Colorado River is born, and it happens to be fantastic for fly fishing and beauty.

Here in 2012, we are experiencing the worst known summer in the history of Colorado concerning forest fires. It has stirred up people to really help each other, step up prayers and remember to say thank you to our firefighter heroes and regular folks. My little map here was created out of love for our state and its heritage, a simple and quirky expression as it is.

All this makes me want to say, encourage our youngest kids to study the history of their state or province, wherever you live. Have them make maps and think about who lived in the places they have illustrated. It might just sink in and create a love of place and homeland. That has to be good.


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One Response to “An illustrated map of Colorado: loving where you live”

  1. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    cool~ I always loved this one!


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