Saturday, August 30, 2008

High Sierra High

I spent six glorious days in the high Eastern Sierra doing my two favorite things, hiking and painting, with eight fellow painters and one photographer. We camped on the far side of Lake Ediza in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, a short distance from the John Muir Trail. We hired a pack trip outfitter to take our heavy equipment, gear and beverages in on mules, while we hiked in with daypacks. We also hired a cook to keep us well fed so that all we needed to do is roll out of our tents and paint. We had fabulous weather this year (last year we had lots of hail and rain). When I return to NE Oregon midweek, I will post a few paintings and happenings. It feels good to be freshly showered and ready to sleep in a real bed! The snapshot of the Minarets above was taken near the lake outlet on the hike out. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Huckleberry Heaven

Yesterday was a wipe-down painting day, 'nuf said. Today's priority was huckleberrying. We rode dirt bikes up into national forest land, which was great because we could stop when we smelled ripe berries. Tonight I will make wild huckleberry cobbler which are tied with white truffles for my favorite food flavor. For the next few days I may choose to hunt berries instead of painting. For a change my fingers are stained with berry juice instead of paint. :) We spotted a badger when we stopped to pick berries, I think he may have been eating them. He had that miffed expression on his face that badgers always seem to have. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sacajawea Peak

I hiked into the Eagle Cap Wilderness this morning. I had almost given up on painting because it was overcast, but it eventually cleared. I'm not terribly happy with this study (it looks too much like an illustration), but hopefully I learned something for the next one. The hike in was perfumed with the scents of wild berry and sage; it is blackberry and huckleberry season. Wildflowers are still thick on the ground and mosquitos thick in the air. I am not in shape for my upcoming Sierra trip so I thought I'd make myself do more hiking.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dawn On Hurricane Creek

I wanted to try something moodier than what I have been painting. I was quite out of my comfort zone, but it was fun to try. It was definitely an exercise in close value and color relationships. I was also out of my physical comfort zone, it was a chilly morning to be standing in the misty shade by a river. 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Canyon Sentinel

It was time to try a hero tree again. This stalwart gnarled fir specimen was on the edge of a sheer drop into the Big Sheep canyon. This tree looks ancient, and it is amazing that anything could survive on this ridge with the winter winds, hurricane force winds are not uncommon. I should redesign the background so that the hill ridge is not tangent with the sweep of the tree branch. I think it is better than my previous tree attempts, I think I'm making progress. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cat's Back Prospect

We finally got some clearer weather this morning with beautiful hazy sunlight. I drove up to a location called the Cat's Back. It is a skinny ridge with canyons on either side, to the south is the Big Sheep canyon, this northerly view is a series of canyons: Craven, Mitchell, Wolf, and Little Sheep. I wasn't sure about this study when I finished it, but it is growing on me and becoming a favorite. Mostly I want to refine the foreground tree shapes and fix one of the background hills.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thunderstorms And A Great Horned Owl

Last night and tonight, there was a magnificent yet somewhat scruffy great horned owl sitting on the roof -- hoo-hoo, hoo, hoo. I spent the afternoon watching the lightning show. It was quite dramatic today, I counted three strikes that started forest fires on the mountains. Fortunately the rain was heavy enough to soon douse the fires before they gained much momentum, but for a few minutes the flames were quite tall and bright, and one of them smoldered and smoked for a couple of hours. More thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next couple of days so I'm not sure if I'll get to paint. I really don't want to be out standing on a ridge with a metal umbrella in this weather, the brand new flooring store a half mile away was struck by lightning today. Might be a good time to make more Marionberry cobbler. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Big Sheep And Seven Devils

The distant mountain range in this view is the Seven Devils, the foreground is Cummins Gulch leading into Big Sheep Canyon. I'm doing small canyon warmups before I tackle a Hells Canyon view. On the drive back I felt like I was in a Disney movie because of the number of deer, bluebirds and chipmunks; I kept expecting Thumper to show up and for them to break into song.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Angus Ranch

Yesterday was a scouting morning that didn't turn up anything promising, and I am realizing that I can't paint on only one hour of sleep. This morning I also went to a new area but had better luck (more sleep also helped). There are a couple more views out this way that I'd like to paint soon, there are many small canyons leading up to the bigger Joseph, Imnaha and Hells Canyons. I could spend the rest of my vacation painting nothing but canyons and not get to them all. The top of the canyon in view is the Big Sheep Canyon.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More Fun With Bales

It is amazing that there are still some snow bits remaining in August. This view is looking up Hurricane Creek, I have been wanting to paint this canyon shadow for a while -- I'm glad I waited because the crystalline sky and hay bales made it too tempting to pass up. I am very happy with this study, it turned out pretty much the way I envisioned it when I set up to paint; I wish that would happen more often!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Early Morning On The Lake

Another view of the lake -- I was seduced by the sunshine streaming over the moraine, illuminating the atmosphere over Bonneville Mountain (Mt. Howard is to the left and Chief Joseph Mountain is to the right, with peeks/peaks of  Aneroid Mountain and Craig Mountain in the distance). It was nice to have a few clouds this morning. I need to fix and blur the reflections in the water since they are distracting.
          The afternoon became a little stormy with great clouds. I was feeling too lazy to head out to paint, so I did a cloud study from my deck. If I keep doing cloud studies, maybe one day I will figure out how to paint them well.