Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fire & Rain

Fire & Rain
10" X 8"

It was a long-anticipated trip to Lone Pine. We hadn’t been camping in what seemed like decades and we needed to sooth our souls with some Sierra time.

Fire season had reared over the world like a beast from hell and we’d had two fires in two weeks that were too damn close. Everything in the house smelled like the smoke that had hung over us like a dirty coat for days and days.

The morning we set off, the desert was still blanketed by smoke from recent fires. As we headed north, it thinned; and by the time we saw the first white shoulder of granite, the skies were blue again.
We set up camp and goofed the afternoon away inhaling the cool moisture of the falls up at Whitney Portal. Once back in camp, we squeezed our chairs into a dinky patch of shade and watched the afternoon unfold. It was hot, but a stiff breeze kept the heat down. And by stiff, I mean that anything you weren’t holding on to (beers, chairs, maps, and hats) would blow over—or away, ending up somewhere near Bridgeport.

I sketched (a death grip on my pad and pencil) and watched a growing cloud of smoke blow over the ridge from the west, tinting the landscape yellow-orange. To the southeast, the clouds mushroomed over the Inyo mountains, gathering for a dump over the desert.

I really wanted to paint, but it was just too darn windy. I exchanged one pad for another and worked on another sketch. As the light faded, the wind lessened. By dark, it was calm, the smoke had lifted and we enjoyed watching our favorite show: Stars and Campfire.
Two weeks later, I dug the sketches out and painted from memory.

Although I’ve not shared much art with you lately, I have two more paintings to show you, plus another that is still being fine-tuned. That third and larger painting has been giving me trouble.

I’m tempering my activity on that one so as not to destroy it (yes, it happens), especially after all the time I’ve put in on it. I know what needs to be fixed, but I haven’t figured out how to fix it. One morning I will wake up with the solution. I find those last moments in and out of sleep often yield answers to nagging painting problems. Stay tuned...

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