Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Returning to Lone Pine Creek

Creek Crossing
9" X 12", Watercolor and Sepia Ink

A few of you have asked me about my painting of the creek. It's still sitting in my studio. In fact, I propped it up next to my drawing table so it can get a good look at me while it simmers. In the meantime, I took a stab at another version of the same scene, only this time using watercolor.

Lone Pine Creek is akin to a hiking companion on the trail up to Whitney. It meanders across the trail and travels along one side or the other in many places along the journey. It’s a cheerful constant, whether foaming white with a rainbow mist halo as it tumbles over cirque edges, gurgling gold where it lazily spreads out in the sun, or above tree line where it blackly murmurs over sun burnt rocks fringed with brilliant spikes of green—the only green you’ll see for a while.

This was one of those paintings that came together veh-rrrr-ry slowly. Usually I bang out a painting in one or two extended sessions, but this one took shape a little bit at a time over several different studio stints. I'd work on it a little and then set it aside, never fully committed to whether it was a success or not—until this past weekend when I finally opened the door that took me to the finish.

I was having one of those days when I didn't know what I wanted to work on. I had a small canvas of the view from Trail Crest out over the Hitchcock Lakes that I'd started back during the Top of the World paintings. Although it was off to a promising start, it went spiraling out of control and had to be put out of it’s misery.

And so, I went back to the creek painting. At some point in my dabbling, I added ink to the piece. That turned out to be a good decision, leading to a nice completion. It felt good to express this impression of Lone Pine Creek, particularly this crossing.

I know this is just the beginning though, as I explore the other faces of Lone Pine Creek.

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