Plein Air: Dana Peak Park (Belton, TX)

First sketch at the park entrance.

I risked the overcast skies and high chance of rain to get in a few sketches at Dana Peak Park today. It’s always a question mark in my head,”Do you really want to do this?” as I drive there, but as soon as I start down the entrance trail, I know it was right. Every time. The thick atmosphere really set the hills in the distance back with deep blues, contrasting to the warm greens of the cedars around me. In five minutes, I was roughing in the most simple statement of the scene, as I’m learning in class in Nathan Fowkes Schoolism class. Fourty minutes later, I put in the last touches and was off to explore more. It was fun seeing people pose at the far end of the trail, hoping to be immortalized in the sketch. 
Second sketch. Named “Clarity”

 I’ve started a series on an Instagram account (@sw_abstractions) that will explore slowly pushing myself into the abstract expression I see in nature, more directed by what I feel than the literal scene. In fact, I name the sketch for the emotion it portrays before I start, stopping myself frequently as I paint to ask, “Am I painting this emotion?”. Often, I’ve gone too far trying to copy the scene and half of my time is spent painting over my careful rendering, back into abstraction. Today I found a deer trail leading off of the main path and almost stepped on a prickly pear cactus almost tucked away in the grass. I saw the big thorns and noted how I focused so closely on those, that the rest of the surrounding grasses faded away. “Clarity” was the feeling I was greatful for, those times in life when everything else in the mind clears and you are in the moment. I think I painted the grass about five times, getting it just right, then seeing I’ve lost the softness and scribbling over it. Good lesson.

Third sketch, old oak skeletons.

After “Clarity”, I walked about four miles over the hills, dodging the Sunday mountain bikers, and found myself just enjoying the exercise. Sensing I was done for the day, I walked toward the entrance when a brief glimpse of sunlight hit some big oak skeletons, weathered and clear of their bark, showing the smooth silver layer underneath. The background hills were still in shadow, so the warm sunlight lit up those oaks brilliantly as if they glowed. I gave myself 45min for uber-fast sketching and really paid attention to catching the boldness of the trees in relation to the softness of the brush around it. A lady stopped by, liking my easel set-up and I had a chance to explain how it’s just a Walmart easel, modified to be much more useful along with my other cheap, rigged gear. It was so fun to see her realizing with a big, excited smile that with about $40, she can do this, easel, brushes, paints paper… everything. I live for those moments to witness a spark of inspiration. So satisfying, and a perfect end to the day.

I just finished varnishing a commission painting and will post that up tomorrow.

Plein Air: Colorado Springs,”Refrigerator Creek” on the Intemann Trail

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I went back to Red Rock Canyon Open Space (Colorado Springs) to get in another study of a scene I’ve been working on (to be posted later) and went to hike a bit further up the canyon after finishing. It was unusually hot and most people were carrying their coats they came out with. The dry air and intense sun creates a dramatic change from sunlit places to shade. Hiking into a trail section that head up toward the mountain behind the canyon, I passed scenes of massive rock faces that seem to dwarf a person to the size of an ant by comparison. Amazing. Noting the places for later, I continued on and found a mountain trail which could go all the way to the top of Pikes Peak called “Intemann Trail”.  Along the way up the winding switchbacks, I moved into a shaded portion of the mountains and came across a little creek with huge mossy boulders and a hand made log bridge (for those local to Colorado Springs, it’s just shy of Gold Camp Road).

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You know if when you get there because it’s like walking into a freezer and was called “the refrigerator” by a local couple. The cold water combined with the shade drops the temperature instantly. It was completely different from what I expected, but it was so unique, I scrambled down off the edge of the trail so I was looking up at the boulders and began to lay in the scene quickly. Within ten minutes, my fingers were slowing down and my fleece jacket was zipped up to my chin. Over the next hour, I enjoyed trying to capture the scene. When I was taking deep breathes to steady my hand for a precise line, I knew it was time to pack up and finish back at home. It was fun meeting hikers and mountain bikers who knew the area and found that I picked a well known spot.

In getting home, the painting changed! The cool sky color in the shadowed area on the trail had a tint on my panel and all the sudden it looked warm an somewhat cozy, like I wouldn’t shiver at all. Arrg. Over the next few days, I tried to add cool colors, but nothing seemed to work. Yesterday, Mark Boedges, an incredible painters send out a “monthly tip” email to his fans about this very topic with some ways to “fix it”. (For all artists, I encourage you to sign up for his monthly tips). He talked about keeping the scene as close as you can to the nature colors, but adding a bit more blue to the scene when you are painting on location. This will help to keep it “cool” at home in the warmer light. In looking over his paintings (for the hundredth time), I noticed he adds dashes of color to places that are way off “natural”, but when stepping back from his painting and looking at the scene it seems so realistic and fresh! All the sudden it snapped in my mind and made sense. I took out my study and mixed up some ultra bright sky color to add to the foreground rocks, and bingo, all of the vibrancy I remembered from when I was there came out! I probably overdid it a bit in my excitement, so in time I’ll tone it down a bit, but this adds a whole new tool to my sleeve of painting tricks. Now, when I look at paintings from other top tier from artists, like Richard Schmid, I see it in almost all of their paintings.  I realize that some may like the more subdued, natural look, but to me the impression, or “feel” of the scene is just as important as the accuracy of the scene itself.  Here’s a before I added the blue, cool highlights. It seems good up close, but from ten feet back, it looks drab, subdued and too enclosed, not what I actually saw and felt. After adding the blues, it seemed to open it up with depth and add that feeling that indeed, you are now at “refrigerator creek”.

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Plein Air: “Keeping it Simple” at Miller Springs

Foxglove sketch. (~6x8"ish) on acrylic paper.
Foxglove sketch. (~6×8″ish) on acrylic paper.
stephenwilliamsonprickypear
Prickly Pear in Golden Field (6×8 acylic on paper).

Perfect weather, hiking sandals, a pack full of paints and ready… it was time to get back and continue my Miller Springs series of sketches.  This time I had a single goal: “keep it simple”, by that I mean something with a clear subject that I know I can paint in an hour.  If you feel unmotivated, here’s an article I read from the website I practice figure and portrait drawing that will help:   “New Year’s Practice Resolution”… which links to this article (also great): “Focused Practice: an Exercise for Real Improvement in 33 Days”. By the way, this is an amazing website! It’s deserves any promotion I can give it.

I went out looking for anything “simple”, and about 1/2 mile from the trail head ran into this Foxglove flower.  It’s very noticeable and often found along a road-side (look for bright, thick multiple flowers along a stalk). I thought, “This is simple, and I can keep it under an hour”, then questioned, “What if people see me painting flowers?. I’d have to hand in my man-card, but wait, I can explain this is a “man-plant”. It contains a powerful medicine called digitalis that can make your heart feel like thunder in your chest… man plant. See? Do I get to keep my manliness?”.  (Side fact: it’s also how modern drugs began, and yes, I talk to myself).

Just as I finishing up about to add some final details, an old man came hiking around the corner looking at me curiously, about to say something and realized he lost his truck keys. He had that look of doom. I packed up and we backtracked trying to remember where he went (lots of cross trails) and there was his key, in the middle of the path.  Doom to elation in two seconds flat. Good feeling. I never lost my man card.

I wandered off to find a different “simple” scene and came across the “perfect” scene for the day. It was around 6:30 and the setting sun was reflecting off the golden grass that resembled a field of oats, highlighting their tips where the seeds were. A cactus patch was right in the middle, back-lit from the sun but lit up on the shadow side with the reflections from the golden grass. Plus, it had a dark background with the woods close by.  I popped out me gear, saying, “Keep it simple, keep it simple.” and just as I sat down to make the first sketches, a enormous horde of gnats discovered me.  They were in my ears, nose and always trying to get to my eyes.  Not willing to give up this scene, I squinted and used the eyelashes to keep them out, blew them out of my nose like a whales blowhole and tried not to swat unless they were actually going inside my ear. I’m stubborn and this really was a fantastic scene.  After about 40 minutes, I decided I’ve achieved “simple” and packed up faster than I ever have before.

Despite the gnats, it was a great day and although I can see how I could have done more, I achieved what I went out there for “simple”.  Now, time to get some bug spray in my painting kit.

Artist Chat:

Palette: cad yellow, cobalt blue, alizerin crimson, mars black, titanium white (acrylics)

I drew sketches with an HB graphite pencil lightly while looking for values that were either “dark”, “middle” or “light” in order to emphasis the focus (the main group of flowers).

For the Foxglove: I blocked in color quickly (5 min) keeping it simple to about these three values, starting with the “dark” background, “middle” leaves and background flowers and then punched in “light” flowers.  I kept everything just about black or white in case I needed an extra dark or white later.  This base dried quickly. Then I mix up thick paint and carefully, but boldly apply details in the petals or leaves in as few strokes as possible.

Cactus patch and grasses: same process applied for this one, but I had enough time to get a bristle brush and flick on grass, lightly loading the brush and grazing the paper against the bristles. The foreground highlights were added with a liner brush for the “oat seeds” and cactus highlights.

Plein Air: A View of Stillhouse Lake (Belton, TX)

plein air painting
8×10 acrylic view from a peak near Dana Peak Park overlooking Stillhouse Lake.

It is definitely spring here in Central, TX.  I went out to Dana Peak again to hike and find a good spot only to find the small parking lot full and cars lining the sides of the road for a quarter of a mile!  I went to my favorite sitting spot in a peak about 400 ft above the lake level and it was packed with people.  About a month ago, kids came up to the peak and cut up a lot of cedars and brush to have a fire, unknowingly destroying a habitat to an endangered bird (some kind of “cheeky warbler” or something).  Now the rangers have warned us the entire trail system can be shut down if this continues.  I don’t like to see a habitat destroyed, but I must say, the view from the peak is spectacular now! Rather then trying to see through brush to see a lake, it now has opening for a 360 degree panorama!  Stupid kids (but thanks?).

Reference pic of the view.  The sun was going down and changed the colors, but you can see the scene and no brush to limit the view.
Reference pic of the view. The sun was going down and changed the colors, but you can see the scene and no brush to limit the view.

The reference picture doesn’t show the colors, but it was captivating to see. The low water level is causing a large area of shallow water just off the peak of the peninsula in the photo. With limestone and caliche, a light tan color, on the floor of the lake, the colors of the water shown through as a translucent tan, emerald green and cobalt blue. Stunning.  By the crowds of people walking by, it’s obvious the news is spreading that this is a sight to see.

I tweaked the painting a bit to thin and arrange the trees better, lose the distracting shoreline directly below me and pull the peninsula closer to attract more attention to the water colors.  I wish I could have included all the colors in the shadows, but it’d be too tempting to look at that and not the water.  One story at a time, right John?  Perhaps it’ll be another painting.

What a great day!

Artist Chat:

I kept the foreground dark (around 70% with 0 being white and 100 being black) and the rest about 50%-15%.  To match the colors accurately, I used the brush forward technique (hold the brush up to the color in scene to compare). Thanks for that tip Ed!  Most of the colors were very close to greys, so I mixed these colors together until it matched:

paynes grey, titanium white, cobalt blue, alizarin crimson and “process yellow”.  This is similar to what Kevin McPherson describes in his book, “Fill your Oil Paintings with Color and Light”. 

Feeding the Birds (Commission): Steps 2 & 3

This is the continuation of the previous post, describing a commission to create and paint a scene of a homemade platform feeder with two cardinals and a chickadee.  Since this is cedar country here in central TX, the background scene would be based on this. 

We came up with a rough sketch to arrange the birds in the first step, and next was to make a color sketch.  The goal with this was simply to get put color to the sketch and see if it works.  I found out there is a big difference between painting a scene from a photo or en plein air, and illustrating a realistic scene from imagination.  It took a few fails and some outdoor adventure to put this all together. Here’s some initial attempts that seemed close, but somehow didn’t feel right. I think the sky blue with the bright red was like wearing plaid short with a rugby striped polo (while I have never done…twice).  Taking out the sky was just depressing.

Attempts to make the birds stand out and also have some harmony with the background. A very humbling lesson.
Attempts to make the birds stand out and also have some harmony with the background. A very humbling lesson.

Time to look down my website list of favorite artists (a long list) for some guidance and inspiration.  The painting below, from Edward Aldrich, shows a perfect example of color harmony.  The rich, dark background has all the colors of the bird if you look closely, making the bird and flowers seem to “fit” in like high notes in a symphony.  Looking back at my color sketches, I saw a squeaks and random, out of tune notes of a middle school band practice, complete with “tuba farts”.  I needed a focal point to draw it all together and something in the background to create harmony.

Edward Aldrich's oil painting showing amazing color harmony
Edward Aldrich’s oil painting showing amazing color harmony

If my background was about cedars, it was time to get out and do some plein air, really evaluating how the bird colors would fit in with this.  I found reds in the cedar bark (male cardinal has red), yellow ochre and rich greens in the leaflets (female cardinal)  and bright and dark grays in the branches (chickadee).  Amazing how much you can find if you look!

cedar tree studies for the painting
cedar tree studies for the painting out near Dana Peak park (Belton, TX)
The cedars had everything from cool blue colors, warm greens and yellows and even chalky white colored branches. Perfect.
The cedars had everything from cool blue colors, warm greens and yellows and even chalky white colored branches. Perfect.

Next came the cardinals.  I searched the web images, took pictures from yard, ranch fields and rooftops, and this is what I found: the male cardinal is just red. Bright, bold red. The female, however, it subtle and varied in color, making it very elusive. The only way I found a female to take pics of was to listen and look for the males.   Oh, Mom, if you notice there’s not many cardinals visiting the bird bath or feeder lately out in the yard, it’s because I chased them with the camera around the yard for a few days. I’m now a living scarecrow to them. Sorry about that. I did it in the name of art, right?

A mash-up of pics from Google searches to my hunting down birds with an ultrazoom camera here and in Weimar, TX.

A mash-up of pics from Google searches to my hunting down birds with an ultrazoom camera here and in Weimar, TX.

After a couple more attempts, I found a color sketch I was comfortable with. (note, it’s meant to be a quick and rough sketch)

Here's a rough color sketch that seems to harmonize a bit better (as you'll see in the final painting).
Here’s a rough color sketch that seems to harmonize a bit better (as you’ll see in the final painting).

With a better color sketch and all the research, I stepped into the final painting feeling much better.  Working back and forth between the birds and background (repeatedly), I found it naturally merged them slowly into it.  I’d paint part of a bird, then use that color somewhere in the background, and vice versa.

There were a couple things that personalized this painting to put a their story in the painting’s concept. The feeder had perfect elements, such as small drainage gaps in the corners and the squirrel proof cone below it.  Also, the female is in the tree because they notice one cardinal feeds while the other stands guard. I’d put her on the feeder and make the male stand guard (as it should be, right), but her colors were perfect compliments to the sky blue (sorry lady).  As for the little, bold chickadee, note the branches of the cedar tie in with it.  Little details like this make a huge difference!

16x20" acrylic on canvas panel.
16×20″ acrylic on canvas panel.

Thank you Mrs.  Harmeyer for this adventure!!

Miller Springs #6 Plein Air: Down at the Creek

Miller Springs Plein Air Painting
Down the Ravine at Miller Springs 6×8″ acrylic. (click on this picture to see it enlarged and clearer)

Catching a break from the cold fronts, hordes of people piled out of their houses to breathe some fresh air and tire out their kids before bedtime.  I did my best to get lost off the trail and found this area about 200 yards off the trail down a ravine.  I was sure I’d found a sweet spot to hear the serene sounds of dribbling water coupled with lightly chirps of bird. “OH MY GOSH, LOOK! LETS GO DOWN HERE!!”. “DAD, WE WERE JUST HERE!”. “JASON, STOP. WAIT FOR US. [whistling] HERE BOY, DUKE! GET BACK HERE, $&#^(#! DOG!”.   Yep, I had gone 100 yards off the trail, then somehow looped back 80 yards back toward another trail, and these sweet shouts were a recurring theme for 3 hours. Hmm.

Despite the hordes, it was a very sweet, sunlit spot begging to be painted. I did a quick value sketch (pencil and paper) to really nail down what I want to emphasize in the scene. I love the rocks, especially along the dark bluff. There were some great underwater rocks with gobs of green algae that would be fantastic in a larger scale!

I finished up, took some reference pics to see how the scene compared to the painting, and said bye to the endless screaming kids and the bad dog, Duke.

Just finishing up
Just finishing up
Do the colors match?
Do the colors match?

Artist Technical Stuff:

There were several good spots along the creek, but this had the best composition simply because the large, dark bluff with overhanging roots provided a great contrast to the sky and rocks.  Most of the other scenes were good, but almost everything was about 50% value with maybe a few shadows under rocks. Not enough.  The first impression of a painting to a viewer waking up to a painting is largely based on contrasting values, then colors.  I used the same pallet:

  • cad yellow
  • titanium white
  • cobalt blue
  • alizarin crimson (red)
  • payne’s grey

In scaling up, I may lighten up the background  to push it back a bit and make it a cooler blue, but with this study it’s a pretty accurate depiction of the scene to tweak from. I constantly questioned if the rocks were brighter than the sky, but the sky was about a 20% value while they were the lightest in the scene (~10%?).  That was perfect to get the greatest contrast in the focal area.

Miller Springs Plein Air #5: The Explorers

painting
A scene of a couple exploring the area at Miller Springs on New Year’s Day. 8×6″ Acrylic

I got out for another day at Miller Springs to find another good scene.  I think this has become a series now with four previous, recent plein air trips to the area.  I didn’t have to go far this time.  About a quarter mile at the start of the first ravine, I rock hopped down a bit into a area with boulders and trees.  The sun was shining almost directly at me and give great back-lighting to highlight a couple of boulders. With the background cliff in the shadows, the highlights on the boulders stood out even more.  I did a quick sketch of the scene to study the values (lights/darks) for 5-10 min, then started right into the painting.

The initial sketch. Looks like chicken scratch, but if I can see good value from the sketch, only then do I attempt the painting.
The initial sketch. Looks like chicken scratch, but if I can see good value from the sketch, only then do I attempt the painting.

Just as I started painting, a couple walked by and scaled down the 15 foot cliff face (impressive) I was perched on top of.  I asked them if they’d mind climbing on top of the boulder I’m painting and they were happy to help! I took a quick reference pic and then they left, wandering on down the ravine, blazing their own path, carefree.  I paused for a second and thought… rock climbing, bouldering and exploring with someone you love… I bet that happens a lot in heaven. I took another reference pic when they were passing through a picturesque area of the ravine., so it’s possible they be seen again here!

Here's the couple that climbed onto the boulder to help me out.
Here’s the couple that climbed onto the boulder to help me out.

I painted the landscape of the scene in about 3 hours (below):

Here's the scene before adding the couple.
Here’s the scene before adding the couple.

Then I got out my camera to look at the reference pic and put in the couple. The camera kept auto shutting off, so I ended up taking an iPhone pic of the camera screen, a pic of a pic.  You gotta do what ya gotta do, right? It really gave a great sense of scale to the rocks in the area as well as a story, perfect for the day.

I added in the people using the reference photo.
I added in the people using the reference photo.

Usually, I feel a need to touch it up when I get home. I really felt the people deserved things  like hands or feet, or even a shadow to show they’re not transparent ghosts. However,  is just didn’t seem right to add anything later on. The story is told, it “feels” like the area and the even the day with all the new years resolutions to get outside being fulfilled.  Another great day!!

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 Painting Series #4: Mountain Stream (Plein Air & Studio)

"Mountain Stream Views at Montreat, NC" 16 x20" Acrylic.
“Mountain Stream Views at Montreat, NC” 16 x20″ Acrylic.

“Creek Views at Montreat, NC” 16 x 20″ Acrylic

On the trail, there are few worries as you romp down the path, but having enough water is one of them.  Rather than thinking in terms of drinking a glass or two a day, as it goes at home, it’s not uncommon to drink 3-5 liters (or 8 liters for some people, right Littlefoot?) in a single day to replace how much you sweat on those hills.   Seeing the crisp, clear water and mossy covered rocks is always a welcome site.   This painting was from a color sketch done in Montreat, NC just after my hike and it looks exactly like the area just before Standing Bear Hostel along Green Corner Rd. .   You can see this if you go to the Montreat Campgrounds at tentsite #13.  I have so many memories of rock hopping and fishing for trout in these cool waters as a kid that a lot of this painting was trying to capture the “feel” of the sunlit spots along the creek, not just an accurate depiction.  My hope is that I can share the love that I have for this place and entice you to go sit on the boulders listening to the sounds of rushing water, birds in the canopy and the smell of fresh renewal everywhere.  This is what you will sense on the Appalachian Trail as well.

Here’s the color sketch:

Here's the set up I had with me on the AT.
This looks like a good spot!
Color sketch of the creek boulders (minus the trees)
Color sketch of the creek boulders (minus the trees)

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!