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!