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 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!

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!