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 .

Saturday, April 13, 2013

NEW HAMPSHIRE SCENES: Favorite Painting/Favorite Hike

A recent viewer of my website asked,
                    Which is your favorite painting?  Tell about it!

Favorites change, depending on our mood, the weather...
                even who we are talking to or thinking about can have its subtle influences,
and I expect with painters it must relate to  our emotional attachment to 
              WHAT we are painting, 
                WHY we are painting it, 
and quite possibly to the fun or trouble we had with the actual painting.

That said, my very first favorite painting choice would be:

Franconian Ridge Trail: Lincoln to Lafayette (and Greenleaf Hut)
If you look closely you can follow the trail...from the foreground on the left where the trail emerges onto the ledge of Lincoln, across the front of the painting and out of view in the center, then reemerging, disappearing and reemerging as it drops down into the saddle and then ascends Lafayette. 
This particular view was momentous because from here we could see our evening destination, Greenleaf Hut, 1.1 miles down the left (west facing) side of Lafayette. Look closely to see the white dot of the hut roof, a very welcome sign.
Hiker on the trail!

Why is this my favorite painting (at the moment, anyway)? 
It's a wonderful trek. And painting  it gave me a chance to live the trek vicariously.
Walking ridges above the tree line is exhilarating and humbling. Hikers are just specks on the trail from this perspective, but we can feel the heft of the mountain, see its ridges and "ribs," and explore the lichens, moss and wildflowers that survive, even flourish, in this unique, alpine and sub alpine environment...right here in NH! 

Falling Waters Trail is only the start! 
On this particular trek, I was with a group of eight women, intent  on bagging several of the  intrepid 48 4,000 footers in the Whites,  (see Oct 10 blog, Chasing the 48) and making  use of the Appalachian Mountain Club huts on the way. 

We started from Franconian Notch State Park, climbed Falling Waters Trail to the ridge and Little Haystack Mtn, then proceeded north towards Mt Lafayette and down to the Greenleaf Hut. 

Check my website under paintings/White Mountain Trails
for more paintings.
Follow this blog for coming entries on favorite paintings and trails in the Whites.
Looking south, Lafayette to Little Haystack

Wednesday, April 10, 2013



Only a week ago,
this was the scene at Bretton Woods. 
Snow enough to ski,
And Mount Washington was still wearing its white mantle.

Mount Washington from North Conway.
 But only 20 miles south,
really related more to elevation than latitude,
the snow was definitely going!

Patches of snow 
rather than patches of rock and ground,
were the new ground designs...

(see previous blog for another version of this rock)
And so, although the diehard skiers
are still finding places to ski, perhaps, 

Hikers are thinking of favorite trails  
View from South Moat looking towards Middle
and North Moat, and on toward the Notches.

 whether they are south facing,   and thus,
 more likely to be clear of ice and snow
 or north facing 
(possibly requiring micro-spikes),

or better left 'til later in the season!
In my own readiness to get hiking again,
(without snow shoes and full winter gear)
I spent time vicariously painting one of my favorites, The Moats, 
and too hastily had it framed 
behind glass
before  its photo session,
which diminishes detail and color...
(See it in person at  The Met  gallery and coffee shop.)

Beech youngsters stubornly hold their leaves
through the winter. 

Painters are thinking of Plein Air Painting,
Outside at last,
 to sketch and paint nature in real life.

And some of us
are lucky enough to be both painters and hikers....

Check my website, Barbara McEvoy, Artist.Com for my new emphasis and recent paintings...