Friday, June 17, 2011

Molas Lake and Snowdon Peak - pastel, 8x16

Snowdon and Twilight from Molas Lake
8x16 inches
pastel on archival board with Golden pumice ground

...from our trip to Molas Lake on Wed.  

It was a warm day (89 deg.) in Durango, so we headed up Hwy 550 to Molas Lake (~10,000'), for an afternoon of painting and fishing.   Early summer is here, and the snow is rapidly melting off the mountains, although not quite as fast on the north face of these two 13'ers.

I loved the abstract patterns the residual snow formed against the dark volcanic slopes of the mountains above timberline.  The biggest challenge painting this on location was the ever-changing reflections in the lake.  Overhead cumulus clouds and breezes would cast shadows and ripples, completely changing the appearance.  Because of the white mass of snow, I left out the clouds.   It was about 90% completed on location, and I finally got around to finishing it this afternoon.

Here are some other pictures taken from the trip:

Marsh Marigold (Psychrophila leptosepala)
One of the earliest blooming flowers in the alpine snowmelt bogs and marshes, these can be seen in large numbers from the road

The Grenadiers from Molas
View is to the southeast

Snowmelt waterfall near Lime Creek
Aspen, spruce and fir surround this transient drainage into Lime Cr.

Sandstone slope and aspen
To the east along the small trail leading above Lime Creek

Afternoon cloud against the hillside
Another small stream runs down the side of this slope to Lime Creek

Twilight Peak from Hwy 550 and the Lime Creek drainage


  1. Lovely photos. I love all wildflowers, so of course I was immediately drawn to the Marsh Marigold. The cloud picture is almost surreal!

    LeAnn aka pasqueflower

  2. Thanks LeAnn. I'm really into wildflowers (and flowers in general, for that matter), so they make regular appearances here on the blog :). I agree about the cloud photo; it appeared suddenly on our hike back to the car, and even though the light was poor, I had to take a photo.

  3. Beautiful!
    And I have to agree about that looks like it's lurking and ready to attack ;-)

  4. I'm very disappointed that my comment for the last post didn't get posted, I'm sure it was very profound... or not.
    However, these last posts, when opened, have been oohs and ahhs, loosely translated to "I like these a lot". My favorite is "Tres Amigos", but I bet you couldn't have guessed that?

  5. Thanks Debbie - the post isn't complete with at least one cloud photo ;-), the more unusual, the better.

    Hi Dan - I have no idea why Blogger comments disappear or don't post, but I agree it's annoying and disappointing.
    You know I really appreciate your comments seeing as you are the master of painting trees, forests, light and shadow in pastel. You and Bill C. I was probably channeling you or something for Tres Amigos, because I remember thinking while I was painting: "Dan would do a bang-up job out here." So, thanks!

  6. It must be wonderful to live in an area where you can take such inspiring photos or just sit out there and paint. One of these days we will have to get back out there and visit my brother-in-law and a few friends. You make it so tempting. The new drawing is lovely.

  7. Hi Ruth - thank you. Yes, I've been waiting for this opportunity (living here, and being able to plein air paint regularly) for literally years. It is as fantastic as I'd imagined.

    I do hope you make it out for a visit, and summer is the perfect time, at least here (no bugs, no humidity, no rain).


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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