On June 3, 2013 I made my annual trip to Roan Mountain at the NC/TN border. Due to a conflict in my schedule I missed the rhododendron bloom as well as many of my artist friends.
I arrived at Carver's Gap, mid-day on June 3rd so I only got 4 done before setting up camp.
#1 - 6x8 oil, of Carver's Gap with some cloud drama. You can see how much liberty I take in bending the land and moving trees to suit my composition idea. Here standing in the cloud shadow with sun spots in the distance.
#2 - 6x8 oil curve of Round Bald, cloud light drama with atmosphere to add layers
A look down the bald Southeast view
#3 - 8x6 oil, same view, I was seeing more warmth in the foreground grass standing in the cloud shadow.
#4 - 8x6.75 oil, same view with a lead in and grey cloud hanging overhead
The next morning I got an early start and was joined by my good friend Craig Franz. Here is a view looking Southwest while climbing Round Bald; that's Carver's Gap parking lot at the edge of the shadow. This photo of course doesn't do it justice!
Wonderful vista view looking south towards Spruce Pine, NC
We came upon this young couple overnight camping on top of Round Bald.
Face-lit vista looking southwest
Snapshot over my shoulder, catching our breath going down hill again.
Wonderful subtle colors of early morning light; everyone is waking up in the valleys below.
Craig posing with Grassy Ridge at the top left, our destination for the day. Looks like it may be cloudy up there, not good.....
On top Grassy Ridge at 6,300 feet above sea-level, still seeing some sunlight in the distance. Again I will try to paint rapid changing sun and cloud shadow drama.
Here it is, dynamic drama! Try painting this.....I look forward to this every year! What fun watching these clouds hit you in the face.
As you can see everything changed including the temperature, felt like a 20 degree drop!
#5 - 6x8 oil, here is what I came up with. Played around with this one way too long, but enjoyed watching the rapidly changing scenery.
#6 - 8x6.5 oil same general scene, maybe 20 minutes on this one.
With this view I would attempt to paint mostly sky and enjoy the drama.
Long arm shot
#7 - 6x8 oil, Cloud drama
#8 - 8x6 oil, I enjoy painting worn and rutted out trails, many times you will see alternate parallel trails because they are so eroded.
This mature Spruce became my next victim.
#9 - 8x6 oil, mostly cloudy here
Here is Craig on Grassy Ridge, just skimming the cloud bases.
Now in the Soup!
#10 - 6.75x8 oil, painted this one next to Craig. After this one we had had our fill of painting in the clouds on Grassy Ridge, not to mention we were cold to the bone!
Coming out of the clouds, kinda of windy, you can see it in the grasses
#11 - 8x6.75 oil, interesting to me the different color Spruce trees next to each other. A lot of subtleties here mostly cloudy light with the suggestion of sunlight hitting the distant ridge.
#12 - 6x8 oil, More sun and cloud shadow drama. I was kind of missing the rhodie blooms, so I suggested some on the bush
#13 - 8x6.5 oil, Appalachian Trail study, skimming the clouds. The path is covered with crushed granite rock so it seemed to look a bit lavender to me in the overcast light.
#14 - 8x6.5 oil, Same scene with the sun shining. Mostly improvised the sun light with this one; I was getting really tired of the clouds!
Late afternoon repacking my gear after 10 paintings. No food left from the hungry painter. Looking forward to supper back at camp.
I was grateful to be camping with Craig Franz the master camp fire builder. We have really enjoyed the Tennessee State run campground just below Roan Mountain. It is one of the cleanest well run campgrounds I have been to; they even have hot showers!
Day 3 at Cloudland near the old hotel site. More greys and cloud drama.
A bit chilly wearing several layers
The fog was in and out; I was really attracted here by the rich yellow flowers.
#15 - 10x8 oil, Painting a little larger here as we were going to stay near our trucks
I kept waiting for the sun, it would just peak at us briefly.
#16 - 8x6 oil, Pushing the sunlight with this one. Here you can see the parallel alternate trail due to erosion.
Again hoping for a little sunlight. I guess that's why they call it Cloudland!
#17 - 9x12 oil, beautiful orange tips on these spruce fir trees.
#18 - 10x8 oil, This was a fun one. Towards the end of the day we began to see blue sky and I started painting the distant towering cumulus cloud, then surprise, surprise, surprise.... the clouds moved in, so I tried to paint the drama. The clouds here were just brushing the treetops and rolling across the ground, kind of a grand finale plein air work.....
Finally this picture I took of a little frog on the restroom wall at Cloudland. Roan Mountain is surrounded by wonderful wildlife and insects.
This winter I will be working on larger studio paintings inspired by this year's trip.