Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
We took a cross country ski trail on snowshoes ... took a short-cut that added a lot of time to our trip (but we saw some increadible sights as we wandered through the woods). My legs were still a little stiff from all of the hiking and climbing done the day before, and my shoulders and back were complaining about the weight of my French easel -- which I schlepped around all weekend and hadn't had the chance to use yet.
It was such a beautiful day ... upper forties, maybe low fifties. The sun reflected off of the virgin snow and highlighted the red-brown-violet bark and the rich green lichens covering the massive conifers.
We were off trail ... and the way was tough ... but we knew the general direction that we wanted to go and ... well, what kind of adventure is it to walk on the sidewalk, anyway? Adventure is most often accompanied by difficulties and overcoming obstacles ... physical and/or mental.
We slogged through the heavy snow, over huge lumps of snow that were covering the remains of once majestic trees, through patches of dense thickets of smaller trees and undergrowth ... and around colossal trunks of giants who protruded hundreds of feet into the sky. At the base of, and surrounding some of thse gigantic denizens of the forest, were large bowls where the snow had melted away as the trees have been warmed by many an afternoon sun.
I enjoyed the tranquility and beauty of it all but it was so overwhelming that I knew my photos would never do it justice. Along the way, through the trees, we began to see other snow capped peaks in the distance.
Eventually, we found the trail. We were still a good couple of miles from our destination, though. The day was still fairly early and I knew that I would get a chance to paint.
We came out to an impressive vista, the likes of which can only be compared with the most sensational on earth. I took it in ... took lots of pictures (but stayed the hell away from the edges) ... then began to pick out my painting location. Shade was scared and I didn't have my umbrella. There was only one tree in the close vicinity, and it was very near the edge of the precipice. I would have to stand almost right next to the trunk of that wonderful mountain sentinel ... between it and the cliff ... to get any shade at all ... and I knew that the shade would wander as I worked. Well, it couldn't be helped. I would have liked to have included the tree in the painting, but there was a small group of hikers right where I would have set up.
I wasted little time in erecting my easel and breaking out my equipment ... then went right to work ... cold, soaking wet feet and all.
This was one of the most rewarding painting experiences that I can recall. Not that the painting itself turned out to be anything spectacular ... but just because of the moment itself.
They say that there are three types of people; auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. People change from one to the next from time to time, but, for the most part, they fall into one of those three groups. Surpising as it may be, I'm hard pressed to define which category that I fall under. But, there, on the edge of a cliff in stunning Yosemite National Park, I was pegging the meters on all three of those sensory categories. I was practically in sensory overload.
Somtimes when I go to beautiful paces, it doesn't seem like I've really experienced them unless I'm able to draw or paint them. This time I got to really enjoy the venue in the fullest sense. The dimensions of height, width, and depth were just about as far as they could be taken ... then add the pure smells of the pristine air as it blew gently its cool kisses, the warmth of the sun, the cawing of the occassional bird, and the other natural sounds (plus the classical music on my ipod -- countermeasures against the chatting of the hikers behind me), and the fourth dimension of time; flowing past, deepening the shadows, developing my canvas as if of its own volition. It was an amazing time and I felt such happiness that it was almost beyond all of my experience.
I only had a littl over an hour to paint, though. Clouds were rolling in from the west and the afternoon was waning. If we wanted to be out before dark ... and before it began to snow ... we had to start back down the trail.
It took us much less time to hike out than it did to make it in. I was exhausted by then ... but certainly not complaining after a wonderful outing like that. When we arrived back at the vehicle, we had fresh strawberries awaiting us. Ah, the last of my senses to be rewarded and delighted to the utmost degree.
We returned to the valley as the late afternoon sun was glowing orange on the face of El Capitan. Its warm glow echoed the feelings inside of me.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
From here the adventure took us to Badger Pass where we strapped on snowshoes and hiked 4+ miles out to Dewey Point (get on Google Earth and check it out).
Stay tuned for the full story ... in 3-D and Dolby sterio.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I always like doing these quick charcoals. I can't tell you how fun they are.
Congrats to the happy couple.