Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Choosing a favorite painting...
This, being my most recent "finished painting" is in my current TOP 10.
Last Scramble to Jackson Summit    Pastel 18x26
Boulders on the North Twin TrailPastel 9x12
Painting rocks is difficult. My first and present plein air mentor, Michael Chesley Johnson did a recent blog on painting rocks, well timed for my purposes since I was on the fourth brush out of this painting.  In the blog Michael related that, upon showing his mentor a rock painting, he was told to go out and paint rocks for a year. Living in the Whites, you know I have been painting rocks, starting personally with "Little George," who still provides practice, and onward. Rocks are definitely hard, as in hard, solid, with mass, and that is not easy to represent. Rocks are a challenge to paint, but as with scrambling on them, there is a certain satisfaction. Good thing since they come in many forms here in the Whites from river pebbles to giant erratics, and they fit together quite well to form the bedrock substance of the 4,000 footers, even if the summits are not all like Jackson,Liberty, Washington, etc.

Something there is about climbing these 4,000 footers...a certain exhilaration on reaching the top, on the getting there in fact, possibly induced by the rock scrambling often (but not always) necessary.
Yes, I have seen mountain goats, and people I consider mountain goats, go up them standing, but I seem to need three points of contact, hand over hand, on many of these peaks, or at least parts of them. 
I am, as the saying goes, up close and personal.
Thus, I fully appreciate the myriad lichens and moss that festoon the rocks and boulders, as well as the ledges, the nooks, the cracks and crevices.
And then there is the glimpse of the next mountain top, or the extension of the one I'm on. Maybe krumholtz (crooked wood)...what trees do near the tree line. 
So here is Mt. Jackson peak...which may not look this way to others, but to me below, looking up, wondering if there was more peak after what I could see (sometimes there is), it was beautiful and bold and delicate! 

All this I wanted to capture. 

I'm not sure I did...I want to go back and see it, climb it again...a different trail perhaps, different season too. 

Notches to the North   Pastel 12X18
My third favorite painting also has rocks (also brushed out many times before I reached semi satisfaction). Here the view is from North Moat looking north to the notches. (See April 10 blog for another view)

So the question it a favorite painting because it was a memorable hike, or because the painting of it presented challenges overcome?

If you enjoy hiking in the Whites, or even traveling through, check out my website for more paintings of vistas, trails, and .