Sunday, July 4, 2010

2010 Roan Moutain Trip

On Monday June 21st artist Craig Franz and I met at Carver’s Gap before sunrise to paint the Roan Highlands. Our destination was Grassy Ridge on the North Carolina side of the Appalachian Trail, which is about a 90 minute hike with heavy back packs, quite a stretch for 2 out of shape old men. It was a beautiful morning in the color saturated light with cool crisp 58 degree air. Can your senses imagine the aromas that go with this photo? It was the beginning of a glorious day.

After recovering physically from our climb on Grassy Ridge at 6,200 above sea level, I painted this 8 x 10 oil study in the morning low light at about 8:45am.

Though the Rhododendron bloom was early this year, I used my artist license to add in these blooms. I just thought they ought to be there.

The next scene was mid morning as the sun was more overhead and the clouds were beginning to form which would add the drama for the rest of the day. This was an 8 x 10 oil study

This is my good friend Craig Franz from Linnville, NC. He was a real man to lug this huge easel, lunch and water up the mountain. Even though we missed the Rhododendron bloom, it was a blessing to get up on this ridge to paint for the day!

My next one was a vista of the beautiful clouds and with the moving shadows on the mountains. It was getting really hot in the sun so I eventually ended up sitting under the Fir tree on my right for some shade relief.

Here is my 8 x 10 oil Cloud study. What initially drew me to paint it, was the intriguing cloud shadows on the mountains. I attempted to capture the effect along with the feeling of the sky.

After having an interesting chat with a retired university professor I painted this 10 x 8 oil study on Grassy Ridge looking down the mountain to the southwest with hwy 261 towards Bakersville in the distance.

After doing 4 studies on Grassy Ridge I started my journey back down to Carver’s Gap to have supper with Craig at 5pm.  I wish I had more canvas and time to paint what I saw along the way.  It was all about the cloud drama and the light effects from them.

Now I say back down the mountain. That’s not exactly accurate. To go down to Carver’s Gap, you have to go down and back up about 3 times. Here is a photo of the Appalachian Trial up Jane Bald, NC is on my left and TN on my right. I got so tired one time I had to lay down under a tree for a while.

Down at Carver’s Gap parking lot Craig and I had a good time sharing painting stories. I was fascinated by the cloud shadows racing over Round Bald so I did this quick 8 x 10 oil of the drama while heating up a pan of chili I began to see some unusual clouds over my shoulder from the west. These were gray clouds headed right for me really fast. The hand writing was on the wall. So I reverted to the pack up mode. It all happened so fast I didn’t even get to eat before 60 mph winds and heavy rains hit. I had to eat in my truck. After it ended I went up to the Roan Gardens parking lot to sleep in my truck for the night.

The next morning I had oatmeal before sunrise. I did this 6 x 8 oil on the Roan Gardens overlook platform and captured the sunrise peaking through the Fir trees.

I discovered some wonderful obscure trails through Roan Gardens and found this beautiful early low light scene where the mountain appeared a lavender color. This was an 8 x 10 oil study.

For the last and final painting I did this 6 x 8 oil of Roan Gardens by 11am. The scene had turned cloudy so the colors were more subtle, a sort of melancholy scene.

Next year I hope to see other painters to come up to this heavenly place to paint and explore as a group!

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