Phew. Over a week since my last post! Where did the time go? All good intentions to paint after last Tuesday's outing went by the wayside...in fact, I spent probably 1 1/2 hrs. walking around with my gear along the Animas River trail on Wed, but never found a spot that suited my fancy to paint. On Thursday, I opted to take a hike instead of paint outside. More on that later.
But, that changed with our 3-day camping trip up near Rico, CO. Temps have been in the low '90's here in Durango, so it's a great time to head to the higher elevations of the San Juans before the monsoon season kicks in (which, at the moment I'm typing this, could be today). At my suggestion, we decided to head up along the scenic highway known as the San Juan Skyway. This 230-mile loop drive has to be one of the most scenic drives in the country.
We are dedicated car campers, so with our cat in tow (his first camping trip), we hit the road early Sunday morning. Plan: hike, paint, fish and just hang out.
Snow Spur Creek
pastel on black Strathmore
We stayed at the Cayton campground north of the small mining town of Rico along Hwy 145. Aside from having an unlimited potential for painting, it's close to our favorite locations: Lizard Head Pass and Trout Lake. Unfortunately, Wayne forgot his tackle box for the trip, so his plan to fish the Dolores River and Trout Lake was foiled. He improvised by buying some worms and hooks in Rico, and on Sunday afternoon, we headed up to the trailhead for Lizard Head to paint and fish.
Snow Spur creek drains part of the Lizard Head wilderness area, and is incredibly scenic as it forms a meandering path down the hillside on its way to the Dolores. In fact, this area is so scenic that it's hard not to be inspired by views - both grand and intimate - as an artist. Lots of whitewater in this shallow creek, which made for a challenge to paint. The meadows were lush shades of green with grasses and low shrubs, and lots of bright yellow dandelions. I know these flowers get no respect, being so commonplace, but they really add some beautiful color to the hills and meadows, and at these elevations (~9,800'), they are the only thing blooming in abundance.
I did two other plein air pieces during the trip. I've decided to split those into separate posts, mainly as an excuse to spread out some of the photos I took along the trip.
Here are some photos from the first day of the trip:
Dolores River from the bridge leading to Cayton campground
|Thyme Leaf Speedwell|
I don't think most readers know this, as it has been close to 1 1/2 years since I've posted any, but I love shooting abstract images of water - the small ripple patterns formed by the water, the reflected light from both the surface and creek bottom, along with the random motion of the water itself are mesmerizing to watch. You can see more here, here and here. Small streams and creeks are excellent sources for new material, so I obtained many new photos from this trip. These are from a tiny stream alongside the road leading to the campground:
|Water Abstract #1 - Blur|
|Water Abstract #2 - Starry Night 02|
|Water Abstract #3 - Bubbles!|
Aspens on the hillside
This was the basis for another plein air piece done from our campsite on the same evening