Architect’s worldly sketches to benefit Basalt River Center |

Architect’s worldly sketches to benefit Basalt River Center

A cemetery in the village of Gluge in the Dordogne region of France.
Larry Yaw/courtesy image |


What: Larry Yaw sketches from around the world

Where: Cafe Bernard in Basalt

When: Through November starting Tuesday

Why: Sales for a minimum of $235 each will benefit the Basalt River Center

Twelve or so years ago, Basalt resident Larry Yaw realized he should be doing something special to capture the scenes that inspired him on travels around the globe.

“You don’t save everything on the back of your eyelids,” he said.

Rather than go the easy route and simply take pictures, the renowned architect used pen and ink to produce finely detailed sketches. Yaw would take a folding stool with him whether on a hike in Patagonia, a bicycle ride through Tuscany or a stroll through a European city.

When he found something compelling, he would whip out the stool along with a sketchpad and pen. He would fall into what he calls a “sketch trance.”

“All of a sudden, two and a half or three hours would go by and there would be a sketch,” he said.

He has given away some of scores of sketches he has made over the years, but mostly he just made them for self-gratification.

“I’m definitely a rogue artist,” he said. “I do it for me. It’s about me and doing something creative.”

Now he has decided to share his work for the benefit of another passion. Yaw handpicked some of his sketches for an exhibit at Cafe Bernard in Basalt. They will go on display Tuesday and will be for sale for a minimum of $235. All proceeds will go to the construction of the Roaring Fork Conservancy’s new River Center.

Yaw has been on the nonprofit conservancy’s board of directors for about seven years and has been particularly active in the pursuit of the river center. The facility — a combination exhibit hall, office, conference center and laboratory — will help the conservancy better undertake its mission of monitoring water quality and quantity issues in the Roaring Fork watershed. The conservancy’s vast education efforts, already reaching thousands of school kids, will finally have room to truly blossom.

Yaw said selling his sketches is a humble contribution, but one that can also build awareness about the river center through his network of friends and business associates. He hopes to raise around $4,000 from the sketch sales.

The river center is taking shape to the west or downvalley of the Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center in Basalt. It will be completed in 2018.

Yaw’s sketching talents capture the flavor of some of the great places he’s visited. There’s a cemetery tucked against towering cliffs in a village in the Dordogne region of France. Another captures the narrow streets and arches in the medieval sector of the town of Sarlat, France.

Yaw found inspiration close to home, as well. He sketched an old Jeep stored in a shed on the ranch of his friend John McBride. He captured a bygone era at the former Jens Christensen ranch on Owl Creek Road.

He looks for images that are evocative, whether he likes them or not. “It stirs you,” he said.

“What makes a great sketch for me is something I like doing,” Yaw said.

There will be no formal opening for the exhibit. The framed sketches will be on display through November at Cafe Bernard.


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