Winding Down this Memorable Mountain Escape

Trying to Figure How to Finish out this Aspen Composition

There must have come a day when granite first peeked out of some broken metamorphic rock and looked up at the sky.

Kim Stanley Robinson, The High Sierra: A Love Story

I have been away from social media awhile (which isn’t a bad thing). We went nearly a full day without wi-fi access up here at 8200 feet. Nevertheless I continued to find a good balance between painting and reading. I had not heard of Kim Stanley Robinson, but reading his latest book has felt like a blast of clean, scintillating alpine air, comparable to reading Annie Dillard or my friend and naturalist Clarry Hubbard, retired journalist from the Wall Street Journal. I try to avoid covetousness when reading such magnificent words describing one’s experiences in the mountains and forests. Rather than write about the past ten days, I have spent considerable time in a shady spot, sighing deeply and drinking in these deep draughts of mountain air.

Soaking up precious words from Kim Stanley Robinson

I have hit several snags on the aspen watercolor experiment, and am already thinking of the next one and how to improve. When working over layers and layers of masquing, I often inadvertently blot out the highlights so necessary when looking at aspen leaves. I chose to take an Xacto knife and prick the paper in particular areas to get those highlighted leaves back. I have studied Winslow Homer’s techniques of blotting and scraping to recover highlights, and I believe I have another trick up the sleeve to accomplish that. But it is Sunday and the stores are closed in this small town, so I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to pick up the necessary supplies for that. I want to get back some of the lighter washes around the perimeter of this painting that I lost with my layering attempts. If none of this works out, then I already have the next painting to consider.

After today, we have only one full day left to enjoy this cool weather and high altitude. I recall about ten years ago our last day in Colorado when staying in Almont where I fly-fished the Taylor River. It was mid-August, and I had to report in a couple of days to my school district for another week of those mandatory, irrelevant Inservice meetings. We rose at dawn, the temperature was 32 degrees. By evening we had arrived in Lubbock and it was 110 degrees. Same day. Disgusting. I have had the joy this past week-and-a-half of waking to mornings where I had to don a flannel shirt, and still find it too cold to sit out on this cabin deck with my coffee. I do love it so!

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.


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