Appalachian Trail Series Painting #2: Fontana Dam Shelter (Plein Air & Studio)

"Fontana Dam Shelter" 16x20" Acrylic.
“Fontana Dam Shelter” 16×20″ Acrylic.

This is Fontana Dam Shelter on the Appalachian Trail marking the last point before entering the Smokey Mountains on the Southern side. It’s called “The Hilton” of shelters having such luxuries as a shower house with hot water, room for 20+ people, a lake behind it with the view of the Smokey Mountains in the background. After freezing mountain water “showers”, wearing clothes caked with sweat with a growing “earthy” smell with each day, and an 18+ mile day of hiking, walking down this road to this shelter was pure joy.  With clothes and tents still wet from the rains, everyone was sink washing and hanging clothes to dry.

Here’s the reference pic:


And here’s the color sketch.  It took about 2 hours and the light changed a bit from 9am-11ish.  I tried to catch the initial impression at 9am in the large painting.

The color sketch done on location

Here’s the trail journal notes that will help give a better perspective to the experience: and

Here’s a note attach to every post of the Appalachian Trail Painting Series:

The Appalachian Trial Painting Series:

I recently went on a trip to the Appalachian Trail section hiking from the Georgia/North Carolina border up to Hot Springs, NC and shared the adventure in my other blog: The Appalachian Trail, In the Footsteps of an Artist.  I wanted to share what it’s like to be on the trail for 200+ miles, many times with out any contact, deep in nature.   Each day, I jotted down notes in the spare moments and even on the trail as it happened. You’ll read about thoughts (often discoveries), pain, joy, solitude and companionship. You’ll see short video clips, pictures, color sketches and read about all the unexpected events.  Out there, life happens to you so much it’s enough just to adapt and hang on. Mostly, words captured the moments of the day, but in those moment when there are no words, I sought to capture those with painting.  So, please enjoy the adventure of the Appalachian Trail blog first and you’ll feel a much richer sense of the joy behind the moment these painting are about.  Thanks!


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