From this trip, I learned how to work around heavy monsoon activity: 1) paint near the car; 2) wait for any window of opportunity, no matter how small, to head out with the easel; 3) be prepared to return at a different time when the weather is amenable, to finish; 4) small paintings at camp.
First up, is my favorite from the trip. Started Sunday afternoon during a short break in the weather, and finished up yesterday morning before we headed home, it was a "two-for-one", so to speak:
|San Miguel Colors - 8x16", plein air|
pastel on board with Golden pumice ground + black acrylic
I'm always struck by the colors of the mountains within the southern San Juans (of which the San Miguels are part of). A geology query of the San Miguel range tells me that the colorful purples, greens reds and yellows are due to the sandstones, breccias, tuffs and claystones of the San Juan Formation and Telluride Conglomerate. Volcanic intrusions into these sedimentary layers, referred to as "stock", are what form the mountains themselves.
So, having the colorful southern edge of the mountains combined with the meadows was like being handed a gift as a painter. But, I had to work fast: less than 40 minutes after I set up my easel and began painting, rain started suddenly, and I was thankful I was set up 2 feet from the car...and not painting on LaCarte paper.
|view from the driver's seat...two minutes earlier, I had been painting|
| Morgan Cabin and Dolores Peak - 12x12", plein air|
pastel on black cardstock
Finally, two small pieces done from the seated comfort of our campsite yesterday morning - fun and fast, while I chatted with Sarah, and before I headed out to finish the San Miguel Colors painting:
|Mountain Morning - 6x6", plein air|
pastel on black cardstock
|Morning Sky - 6x6", plein air|
pastel on brown cardstock
Saturday was spent hiking (and dodging lightning storms). The Kilpacker trailhead was a mile up the road from our camp, so the four of us headed out on our chosen methods of transportation: foot and horseback.
|Morning along the trail|
|falls along Kilpacker Creek|
|Sarah and Jypsi in the meadow near the Navajo Lakes trail junction|
|Ominous skies and tree appropriate to the mood along the steep switchback section of the trail (Sarah and Todd opted to turn back before this section, thinking it might be too narrow and of loose scree)|
|Navajo Lake, from the basin, almost 6.5 miles from the trailhead. Mt. Wilson,|
one of CO's fourteeners, is visible from the saddle
|Approaching the trailhead (cars in stand of trees to right), with another storm over the Yellow Mountains. Thankfully, we were back to the RV by the time this 3-hour rainstorm hit us.|
More photos from the campsite:
|Dramatic afternoon light over the Yellow Mountains (the same in the small paintings above)|