Wednesday, October 10, 2012



Lion's Head viewed from slope of Wildcat D.
(9 x 12 pastel)
Obsessions have their advantages and disadvantages, at least I tell myself so as I realize I haven't posted since May 10th! 

I've been busy with an obsession of sorts!
In 1957 a group of people connected to the Appalachian Mountain Club started the 4000 footer club. In NH there are 48 peaks over 4,000 feet from Mt Washington at  6,288 down to Tecumseh at 4003. To be a member one needs to climb all 48. The club has grown in scope  to include other goals, separately recognized, such as 4000 footers in New England, 48 in the winter, and even those who complete "The GRID," or all 48 in each month of the year.
You know from my blog that I've been hiking, and If you've checked my website, particularly the paintings and text related to Painting and Writing Projects or White Mountain Trails, you know I've been hiking the Whites, shorter paths and trails to start, for certain.
But the obsession? Slowly, and maybe not so slowly, the beauty pulls many of us to a peak, and another, and another, until we're reading the trail maps, the distances, the elevations. 

Mountaintop meadow!
(9 x 12 pastel)
And up we go!
Blessedly obsessed! 
Chasing the 48!

Although I think of myself as a Plein Air Artist, I just can't manage my art gear AND the necessary hiking gear to the tops of these beauties. For safety, because of the extremely changeable weather, hiking gear for a 4,000 footer means enough food and warmth to be able to stay out overnight!
Eschewing art gear for safety, I imbibe the scenes, sketch (a light weight addition to my pack, not the full monty), and take many photos to work with during the winter months, with occasional inspirational,  usually inclement days during the summer, for painting.

The two paintings above in this blog were done mid summer. You can see that thunderstorms were brewing two ridges over as I was hiking down.
Approaching storm

And, on another day, while hiking Isolation, there was a particularly troublesome storm north of us. We did NOT linger on Isolation that day. But we always stay long enough to appreciate the air, the views, the up close surroundings.

Today I began planning the last of my 48...Owl's Head, one of the longer (18 mi RT) hikes into the Pemigawasset Wilderness Area. Checking tomorrow's weather however, sunny though it should be here and in the valleys approaching Owl's Head, heavily gusting winds and snow are predicted for the peak, making wind chill below 0 F.

Wisely, I'm abandoning my 48 4000 footers obsession until warmer weather is a promise.
Presently, my studio calls. And did I mention my other, less demanding obsession? 
Chasing the reds! (some call it leaf peeping!) With plenty of photos from both obsessions, I can turn on the heat in my studio and get to play with another obsession.