Friday, January 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Day above the Smith River

"A Change in the Weather"
(Above the Middle Fork of the Smith River,
Siskiyou Mountains, Northern California)
Oil Sketch on Ampersand Gesso Panel
With additional coat of Rublev Lead Primer
5" x 7"

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Back in mid-November I headed for the Oregon High Desert, but I did not go straight there.  I had paintings to deliver and pick up down on the Oregon Coast, so time was spent on that business before I could turn inland.  My first order of business was to stop by the Coos Art Museum, to retrieve the two Watercolours which had been in the Maritime Show there last Summer, images of which I included in my very first Blog Post (here).  After further deliveries were completed, I dipped down into the Redwoods country of Northern California, which one must do when travelling from the southern Oregon Coast, to the interior of Oregon.  I spent some time visiting those massive trees before moving on.  I include a photograph with my SUV to give you a sense of scale of these Redwoods; I urge my readers in Cornwall to consider your own vehicle when next parked near a British tree, and then marvel at this photo.  I can’t emphasize enough the feeling of wonder I experience every time I visit the Redwoods.  And thus I turned inland.

SUV amongst the Redwoods, California

I traveled up the Middle Fork of the Smith River, mentally filing away possible future paintings, and as it was late in the day looking for Forest roads that might offer a campsite.  At Gasquet California, I found one, following its twists and turns and finally climbing more than 1500’ above the valley floor before choosing a site perched on the high slopes.  Thanksgiving Day, being the next day I intended to stay at least two nights here, and so did.  I was up early the next morning and after a quick breakfast began to paint the view east from my campsite.  I never did determine exactly what Siskiyou Mountain peaks those were in the distance, as the weather was on the turn, with cloud rapidly coming in, and with high winds in the forecast.  After painting in the morning, I had a leisurely afternoon, and preparing my Thanksgiving meal of smoked Salmon on a bed of cous-cous and vegetables.  

It began to rain overnight.  I had intended to stay on the forest road high above the valley, and follow it until it intersected the main highway, 30 miles or so down the road, and would hopefully allow chances to identify the distant peaks in the painting; it was not to be.  The rain made that un appealing since I would be lost in the cloud with little to view, and as I was wanting to get as far inland as I could before the high winds began near the coast, I dropped down the mountainside to the main highway along the Smith Rover, and on to southern Oregon.  I eventually reached the Crater Lake area and decided on a campsite 17 miles down the mountain from the Crater rim.

Pigments used for the Oil Sketch are the usual suspects: Imprimatura Venetian Red; Others were Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna; Winsor & Newton Cobalt & Cerulean Blues, Venetian Red and Cremnitz White.  There … the tech-heads amongst you are now satisfied, I trust.

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