Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hart Mountain from the CCC Hut

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"Hart Mountain ‘CCC’ Hut"
(Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Oregon High Desert)
Oil Sketch on Panelli Tellati Canvas Panel
with additional Coat of Rublev Lead Ground
8" x 6"

(Take further Note: the images and incidents herein occurred in December 2014.)

I’ve had a very busier than normal ten days, so this posting is well overdue, so to carry on from the last post … the first night down here at the Hart Mountain CCC Campground, in the Warner Valley, was a very rough and windy.  The gusts I sheltered from while cooking last night’s supper, turned into a very vicious wind by the time I turned in.  I had chosen a campsite that faced the mountain, but after only a few minutes in my sleeping bags, I realized that I had parked broadside to the wind and the SUV was lurching back and forth like a small boat in wild seas, so I climbed over the seat into the driving position, and moved to the next campsite and faced northeast away from the wind, which now blew down the length of the vehicle from back to front … much better, but even so there were moments when I feared the gale might pick up the truck and waft it into the side of the mountain. 

Came the morning and the winds scaled down immensely, but it remained overcast on this shortest day of the year; Christmas looms near.  The winds, having blown from the south/southwest all night, were warmer and the patches of snow on the mountain were visibly reduced.  I quickly finished up yesterday’s Oil Sketch of ‘December Rain Shower,’ and after a brief lunch decided to try to get down the feel of Hart Mountain from here.  Since the mountain ridge is 20 or so miles long I chose a section of it rising behind the CCC hut (the Civilian Conservation Corps that gave jobs to many during the 1930s’ depression … probably could have done with some of that during the last 7 years, rebuilding bridges and other infrastructure in this country).  The overcast and intermittent rain gave a bland light on the scene, but the mountain top with cloud swirling about was interesting, and the resident herd of deer made an appearance at the right time so I dabbed in a few deer blobs near the hut; the patch of gold in the notch below the snowline was a grove of Aspens, and they had lost their leaves, but I dashed in their Autumn Gold colour as a reminder; an informational sketch.  It is about a three and a half thousand foot rise to the tops from here; maybe a little more; reminds me of Scotland a bit since the rise in altitude is similar, although it must be pointed out that we are already at an altitude on this valley floor that is higher than the top of Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in Britain, to inform the Yanks).  I completed the sketch the next day … these days are short.

What a difference a day makes; high winds while cooking last night and tonight … nary a breeze.  It did rain while I cooked, but thank goodness for the sheltered cooking area, and then the stars came out while I ate my chicken and pesto pasta, with mushrooms, corn and olives;  mmm, mmm good!  Before turning in for a quiet & calm night, I spent half an hour or so tracing some of the constellations that I’m less familiar with: Pisces Austrinus; Cetus; Equuleus; & Aquarius.  All of these I have always more or less known they were there, but in the winter skies other asterisms have usually caught my attention; they are also relatively dim. 

Imprimatura: Venetian Red.

The Pigments used were:  Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna, with Winsor & Newton Cobalt Blue, Venetian Red & Cremnitz White, and a touch of Cadmium Yellow.

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