Saturday, September 19, 2009

North Cascades Mountain Trip, Sketching and Painting

A relaxing day of road tripping, sketching and painting in the mountains... Peshastin Pinnacles and a Painting
This is my final painting of the day, painted in the car in the dark while my husband drove back to Seattle at the end of our day. I'm very pleased with the vibrant colors and had wondered how it would come out given the lighting, but I challenged myself to paint it in the dark anyway. One of the last stops of the day's outing was at Peshastin Pinnacles State Park near Cashmere, WA, basically very dry rolling hills with lots of golden grass and orchards... almost a feeling of the Southwest. I took artistic license with the colors in the painting, as I had to have some reds in there, and my golds are much more gold than the rolling hills I observed that day! The above photo is of the 200 ft pinnacles, very craggy sandstone slabs and spires which are a rock climbers paradise. They are quite stunning shapes, almost looking like gigantic dinosaur spines rising from the ground, and I can imagine several paintings out of the photos I took. Originally located within private land in the midst of orchards about a decade ago, several local climbing and outdoor groups, including REI (great outdoor store), mounted an effort to save these and have them accessible, thus they are now public lands, a state park.

North Cascades Hwy 2
Above is my first sketch of the day, pen and watercolor as I was riding in the car on our way east on Hwy 2 which is a portion of the fabulous North Cascades Scenic Loop trip which we have driven many times. And below is a quick photo right through the windshield, you can see some of the fall color changes beginning. The vine maples and wild huckleberries turn brilliant reds while the cottonwoods and other trees scattered among the firs wear various golden colors. Spectacular mountain scenery along this route and as it get closer to Leavenworth, bordered by a river on one side.
We stopped in the town of Leavenworth which is known for it's "Bavarian" style and cross-country skiing, but skipped the actual town as we have seen it many times. Instead we revisited the Icicle Creek park area, some serious rock climbing areas with huge boulder overhangs, and a salmon fish hatchery. Below is an on-site painting sketch done in a gazebo at the hatchery where we enjoyed lunch and more mountain views.
Nature never fails to inspire me, the shapes and lines, the shifting colors, a never ending art work in itself.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful.

Margaret Ryall said...

I always admire artists who are able to paint "on location" as you do. I found it interesting to see the actual landscape photos of the area and then your interpretation.

Thanks for always stopping by my blog and leaving such lovely comments. They are always so supportive.

Paula McNamee said...

Your sketches make me want to take a trip with my sketchbook in hand and your painting in the dark turned our to be a great experiment.

HeartFire said...

Thanks Ann!

HeartFire said...

My interpretation is often quite different than the real scene, esp, in the Pacific NW... often the real thing has a very gray overtone and I like to spice it up with a bit of color.

HeartFire said...

Yes, do take a trip with your sketchbook! But I do occasionally see your trips to gardens which are great.
Thanks for the supportive comments. Maybe I should paint in the dark more often. It prevents me from diddling around too much trying to perfect the painting, because frankly, I could barely see it.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

In the dark and while in the car moving down the road? Wonderful colors...really captured the setting! Bravo

HeartFire said...

Blue Sky,
yes, it was past dusk, and I couldn't tell the intensity I was laying on but I did know which color was where... it was a smooth highway too and husband driving...