Monday, August 14, 2017

Into the Mountains

(Take Note: for those of you who have signed up to be notified by email of new postings to this blog, you have been receiving not just a notification, but an actual copy of the new blog posting as the email.  As this does not show the images of the paintings in the best possible light, you should click on the title of the latest blog posting at the top of the post, and not the title of the painting itself; this will open up the actual blog itself, and you may then enjoy the paintings at their best.)

Monday-Thursday, August 7-10, 2017; from Salida to Lincoln Portal near Aspen, Colorado.

C1631
“Late Afternoon in the Lincoln Creek Valley”
(Truro Peak)
Oil Sketch on Pannelli Telati fine CottonPanel
5” x 7”



C1632
“Colorado Mountain Morning”
(Truro Peak)
Oil Sketch on Pannelli Telati fine CottonPanel
5” x 7”



Yes … I have been in the mountains for over a month, at between seven and eight thousand feet, above Golden and also the mountain town of Salida; now I am seven rocky miles in from the nearest paved road, at 10580’, in a beautiful alpine valley, about ¾ mile beyond Grizzly Reservoir at Lincoln Portal.  There is a primitive campground at the reservoir itself, with about five sites, but I chose to advance a distance down the 4-wheel drive road, and found my present dispersed campsite.  It’s great, with a beautiful view looking south up the valley, to Truro Peak on the right, Grizzly Peak on the left and Larson Peak in the distance straight ahead.  There is a band of trees between me and the campground, small though it might be, and the three sites taken by fishermen.
 
The first to greet me as I took up residence, were a pair of Grey Jays, also known as Whisky Jacks or Camp Robbers; old friends these birds, as I see them Up North in Minnesota, as well as in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.  Then as I was finishing supper the first night, a doe strolled passed my truck, grazing not more than fifteen feet away.  The next day, a chipmunk was busily scuttling around and between the rocks of the fire ring.  He seemed to be gnawing at one rock in particular; I can only assume that there were essential minerals there that he detected, or perhaps he was just sharpening his teeth.  All this was taking place within 3 to 8 feet from me, and he even ran over my boots once, while I stood silently by.  I managed to retreat a stride, retrieve my camera, and get a few shots of the bold little character.

I had left Salida late afternoon on the 7th, and stopped in Buena Vista, for Subway sandwich, using a coupon Dan had given me; good foresight as when I set up a dispersed camp above Twin Lakes, the weather only allowed me to heat water for my thermoses, in preparation for my nightly hot drink, and breakfast the next morning. Even then I heated the water in a light drizzle, before it set in heavier for a few hours.

The next day I got away as soon as I broke camp, intending to breakfast on the other side of Independence Pass on the way to Aspen.  It took me over an hour to climb up to the pass, as I kept stopping for photo-ops.  Breakfast was taken at the top of the pass, rather than somewhere down the other side.  Because of the continuing photo-ops, it took me six hours to make the forty miles over the pass to Aspen, from the previous night’s campsite, but of course a light lunch by a rushing stream was also included in that time.  Independence Pass is, as it turns out, is the highest paved road in North America at 12,052 feet.  Once I had been to my bank in Aspen, I retraced my steps back towards the pass for nine miles to the rough road to Lincoln Portal.  High clearance vehicles recommended, but 4-wheei drive was not necessary; beyond here though, the map shows it the road as 4-wheel drive, and it might be, but not for the mile or so I went beyond my chosen campsite … but it is rough. 

During the days following my arrival here, the doe has made another appearance, the chipmunk has made daily appearances at the fire ring, bringing a friend on occasion, a black squirrel has shown up, and once at night before I turned in, I spotted a red eye shining close to the ground, which turned out to be a grazing rabbit;  the Grey Jays make a daily visit, not staying for long.  The weather has been a mixture of sun and showers, with about 30 seconds of sleet at the start of one of them.  The showers have been unpredictable enough in their arrivals that I have found it expedient to do my paintings from the driver’s seat, with the door(s) open, closing them when they blow through.  And now as I am writing this paragraph, on my fourth night a coyote has just begun to yip and howl close by; at times it sounds not more than fifty yards away … noisy bugger!

During the week the odd vehicle has passed by my camp heading up the valley, but Friday evening brought quite a few, so I expect there are campsites up there.  I chose where I am for the view.  I wonder how many of these people have come out from Aspen, or further afield; a mixture, I suppose.  I have to admit that I didn’t expect the number of people to show up in the valley that did.  And they mostly all went away today (Sunday).  And tomorrow I head out as well.  I was surprised to hear the coyote howling in the middle of the afternoon today, what with all the traffic and the number of campers over the weekend, but perhaps he was expressing his resentment at the hordes.   I hope to get this posted on the blog on my way through Aspen, as  I have had no cell connection for the since my arrival on Tuesday.

Making my way down the seven miles of the Lincoln Creek Valley from my campsite beyond Grizzly Reservoir, sleet & hail began to fall so I pulled into one of the dispersed campsites within two miles of the main highway.  It lasted about fifteen minutes, with the size of the hail reaching about a quarter of an inch, but most less than that.  Luckily, there was no vehicular damage. 

For you tech-heads the pigments used were:
Imprimatura: W&N Venetian Red
Drawing: W&N Ultramarine Deep
Painting: W&N Venetian Red, Cobalt & Ultramarine Deep Blues, also a touch of Cerulean, Cadmiums Orange & Yellow Pale.
Rublev:Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna, Purple Ochre & Lead White #1.
M. Graham: Hansa Yellow

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Great Sand Dunes National Park

(Take Note: for those of you who have signed up to be notified by email of new postings to this blog, you have been receiving not just a notification, but an actual copy of the new blog posting as the email.  As this does not show the images of the paintings in the best possible light, you should click on the title of the latest blog posting at the top of the post, and not the title of the painting itself; this will open up the actual blog itself, and you may then enjoy the paintings at their best.)

Thursday, July 27; beyond Twin Lakes in the Valley of the North Fork Lake Creek on the road towards Aspen.



Beaver Dam.

Harebell

More Wildflowers.
Further back down the valley towards Twin Lakes.














Tuesday August 1, 2017; Great Sand Dunes National Park.

The highest Dunes of Great Sand Dunes National Park rise to over 700 feet.  In a nutshell they are formed when the creeks wash sediment down from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains into the San Juan Valley, where it is picked up by the prevailing westerly winds and blown back against the mountains, thus forming the dunes.


Vista of the Sand Dunes & Mt. Herard.

Medano Creek & Mt. Herard.






South towards Carbonate Mtn. & Blanco Peak.

Approaching …

… shadows …

… across …

… the dunes.

Upwards towards High Dune & First Ridge

On the way back down.


The Sunlight …

… and cloud shadows …

… were astonishingly …

… beautiful.

Back down to Medano Creek.

Next we crossed over to the west side of the San Juan Valley to Russell Lakes Bird Sanctuary.  The distant thunderclouds were interesting and made up for the fact that the birds were keeping their distance out on the lakes. 







Many thanks to Dan & Lee for my lovely visit.  

And now I’m caught up on my postings and tomorrow (which will be a couple days in the past by the time this is posted), I head out drifting north to the Wind River Range in Wyoming for the eclipse of the Sun in two weeks time.  From here on my postings will be a bit more intermittent, as I have discovered that I can have 4 bars of cell reception, but no internet connection ... I never had experienced that before, until I was crossing Nebraska!  Who knew ... probably the whole World, except for me!!  Next posting should get back see a small Oil  sketch, study or Painting, getting back to the purpose of this blog ... "Not Quite a Painting a Day."

Thank you again Dan & Lee, in Salida, and Martin, above Golden, for making my eastern Rocky Mountain sojourn so enjoyable.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Salida & Forays Therefrom

(Take Note: for those of you who have signed up to be notified by email of new postings to this blog, you have been receiving not just a notification, but an actual copy of the new blog posting as the email.  As this does not show the images of the paintings in the best possible light, you should click on the title of the latest blog posting at the top of the post, and not the title of the painting itself; this will open up the actual blog itself, and you may then enjoy the paintings at their best.)

July 9-August 7, 2017; In Salida.

As I have said, I visited Salida during my time above Golden, and on July 26th I returned to resume my visit with Dan & Lee.  I fully intended to stop along the way and take photos, but the weather was inclement (exciting though!), and I was running late.  I was shown an extremely good time, and although I spent a certain amount of time doing paperwork (does it ever cease?), several forays were undertaken in Salida, and further afield.  The photographs will tell the story.


Frantz Lake on the outskirts of Salida.

A Cormorant on the lake …

… probably a Double-crested.

Another view of Frantz Lake
with the beginnings of the Collegiate Range beyond.

Another lake a short distance from Frantz Lake
and next to the Arkansas River,
with Salida Hill beyond
the cone shaped hill in the center).

This lake … 

… has trout.




Another day …
… a hike …

… was taken  …
… into Browns Canyon …

… to the North …

… of Salida;

… the Arkansas River …

… flows through it;

… and there are …


… wildflowers …

… here too;


… these red ones are some sort of Penstemon.
These two Bambis really wanted to come
and have supper in Dan & Lee’s yard.

“Awww … Please?
 (incidentally, Salida is riddled with deer).

Mt. Princeton, with the “Chalk Cliffs”
displayed at the base;
these are not actual chalk,
but I believe a form of shale.

A storm near Buena Vista, 22 miles north of Salida.

The Castles on forest road 307,
off of US285, east of Buena Vista.

Twin Lakes …

… north of Buena Vista …

… on the way to Leadville.

The next post completes my picture-log of my Salida sojourn.