"Long's Peak in the Rain"
5 x 7 inches
oils on canvasboard
The main risk of painting in Rocky Mountain National Park isn't the elk, or even the tourists, but the afternoon thunderstorms that sometimes appear to arrive out of nowhere. As someone who highly respects lightning, I make sure to follow the "Up high by noon, down low by two" rule -- and even then, the weather can still decide to do its own thing.
A particularly impressive series of thunderclaps convinced me to duck into the Beaver Meadows visitor center (as an open picnic shelter is actually unsafe) to wait the storm out. Then, after the thunder and lightning let up, it began raining. Hard.
I was about to give up my plans for a second painting for the day, when it occurred to me that the center had a covered back porch. Hmmm... I asked the ranger on duty if it would be okay if I painted there, and they said, "Sure!"
So I unloaded my gear and spent a (mostly) dry hour painting Long's Peak. It was challenging fun, as the clouds kept obscuring my view -- it was almost as if I wee playing hide-and-seek with the mountain.
A group of young kids came out and watched for a while, and as anyone knows, they'll tell you like it is! "I like the way you did the snow. It really looks like the snow over there," said one boy. Another was very inquisitive about my brushes and asked about the particular use of each one.
By the time I was finished, the rain had let up enough for me to get my stuff in the car and head down the Big Thompson canyon without too much trouble. And as I drove, I felt a bit triumphant -- I'd not given up on my daily goal of painting two paintings, despite the odds stacked against it. It was a good feeling.