Appalachian Trail Series #5: “Passing Max Patch Summit” (Studio)

"Passing Max Patch Summit" 14x11" acrylic on canvas.
“Passing Max Patch Summit” 14×11″ acrylic on canvas.

This is one of the most beautiful areas Littlefoot, Berg and I passed in North Carolina.  Max Patch Summit is a “bald”, an area on top of a mountain that inexplicably doesn’t grow trees.  The scene in this painting is on the side of the summit.  I remember stopping and thinking, “This doesn’t even seem real it’s so beautiful.”.   There is easy access to this point from a road if you Google “Max Patch Summit parking lot”.  Don’t miss this! Here’s the blog post I did of the day on the AT with a 360 video clip of the summit: Click Here.  (Oh, and Russell, note the buffalo gnats. There everywhere!).

Here’s a note attached 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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Appalachian Trail Series Painting #4: Mollie’s Ridge Shelter (plein air & studio)

"After the Storm" 11x14" Acrylic on masonite panel.
“After the Storm” 11×14″ Acrylic on masonite panel.

This was a scene at Mollie’s Ridge Shelter just after a huge storm with sideways rain and downed trees.  The clouds rolled in a produced a fog so thick it was hard to see 50 yards down the trail.  This fog is pretty common on the trail and I really wanted to capture it.  Despite all the storms, wet clothes, cold wind and rancid sock smells, in the shelter, it was nothing but good times as everyone shared their stories and laughed.  This is the spirit of the trail. You can read about it in the 6/13 date section of the Appalachian Trail journal.  Just before heading to bed, I got in this color sketch:

Here's a color sketch I did in the shelter.  It was so wet, it didn't dry until morning, when it's normally dry seconds after the painting is done.
Here’s a color sketch I did in the shelter. It was so wet, it didn’t dry until morning, when it’s normally dry seconds after the painting is done.

I improvised from the sketch to the studio painting adding Littlefoot (left) and Berg (right) and I’m getting food down off the bear cables in the background (far left).  In doing this painting, I decided to go for a more painterly, emotional style to show the thick wet conditions with very light tones of gray in the background.  Like an illustration in a book, it “leaves a lot more for the imagination to fill in” (right Eric?).

 

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!

 

 

Appalachian Trail Series Painting #3: Fontana Dam Overlook (plein air & studio)

"Fontana Lake Overlook" 16 x 20" Acrylic
“Fontana Lake Overlook” 16 x 20″ Acrylic

This is just up the road from painting #2 at Fontana Lake near the Dam.  We took another “zero (hiking) day” to rest up and run into town (Thanks Tiffany!) to eat at Bojangles and drink more chocolate milk, the essentials. You can read the daily journal on the trail here.  While we waited for the ride into town, I had a chance to do another color sketch at the lake, this time from an overlook.

Color sketch done at Fontana Lake
Color sketch done at Fontana Lake

I only had an ultramarine blue (red-blue) in my kit, but what captured me in the scene was the serene feel looking out over the cerulean blue waters with the blue haze of the distant mountains. It felt good to finally paint the colors I saw.  As I painted looking at the scene, Berg and I saw a boat was heading toward the dam behind the closest hill.  It added a perspective of just how small we are compared to the Smokey Mountains.  Our entire life is just a blink of the eye compared to them, yet somehow we are intimately connected to it.  That’s incredibly comforting. It was our home for the next week.

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!

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:

photo-(12)

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.

colorsketchFD
The color sketch done on location

Here’s the trail journal notes that will help give a better perspective to the experience: http://stephenwilliamson.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/6-11-13/ and http://stephenwilliamson.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/6-12-13/.

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!

Appalachian Trail Painting #1, Plein Air & Studio

Acrylic 16x20 "View Near Clingman's Dome"
Acrylic 16×20 “View Near Clingman’s Dome”

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!

This Painting:

This is a view from the trail about 1 mile from Clingman’s Dome, the highest point on the entire 2000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail. We were hiking along a ridge line marking the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, so we literally looked to out left and saw 50+ miles of Tennessee and to the right, the same of North Carolina. This view is of North Carolina.

photo-(11)

Later, I took the reference photo and video clip noting the colors I saw to do a quick color study for composition with a very limited pallet:

photo-(17)

When I got home, these helped me to relive the moment and paint this scene in a larger scale as shown above.