Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Sierra Painting Packtrip, Part I

A fine group of artists and friends, of which I was fortunate to be a part of, spent 6 days camped on the shores of Lake Ediza in the Ansel Adams wilderness last week. This was accomplished with the help of Red's Meadow Pack Station, who supplied us with mules to carry our gear up, and a cook to keep us well fed, between sleep and our daily expeditions to paint whatever we could between sunrise and sunset. Even that limitation was somewhat exceeded by those who were up before sunrise to paint the alpenglow on the peaks, or the moonlit nocturnes that were painted well after dinner, spearheaded by Eric Merrell. My companions on this year's journey were: Paul Kratter, Ernesto Nemesio, Michelle DeBraganca, Jeff Horn, Julia Lundman, Eric Merrell, and Sergio Lopez. I encourage anyone interested to check out their websites, blogs, and other social media to see what they've done from the trip. I may re-write this post over the next few days as it evolves. What follows is not necessarily chronological, but primarily paintings and photos with notes and recollections, in a few categories, and as it is getting late, I believe it will be in multiple posts.

Morning Studies

Virtually everyone did some painting before, during, or right after sunrise, at least a few times during the week. It helped of course to have hot coffee and fresh melon slices laid out by our amazing back country cook, Kelly, prior to beginning our labors, or if we were in sight of the kitchen, to have her come by our easels with a slice of sizzling bacon or sausage as a snack before breakfast.

"How do you want those 2 hen bullets? Medium? Over Easy?"

We were camped on the northern shore of the lake. The image above was painted in the morning from camp, looking roughly southeast to the right of the rising sun, and I'm looking past illuminated air into the shadows of what is called 'Volcanic Ridge' on the maps, a greenish, glacially scarred, steep range that runs a few miles from the San Joaquin headwaters up to the Sierra crest. The Aspen Fire, about 20 miles south of our area had a pronounced atmospheric effect, most noticeably on a few afternoons, but when I could see atmosphere like this in the morning, I had to wonder if the effects of the fire were also coloring the morning haze. 

Here's another study painted from camp, looking roughly south across the lake, as a sliver of light began to invade the shadow. The color range in the water has to do with a change in depth in the foreground. This one is a candidate for a larger studio piece.

This might be a post breakfast piece from camp, but you can see the range of color that was common at least to looking towards the lake in a southerly direction in the morning.

After painting morning views from camp most of the week, (it is hard to resist sausage delivered to your easel), I tried walking halfway around the lake and looking towards our camp, and was amazed at the  range of color shift to be had. I got up around a quarter to six to get over there. Ernesto and Sergio were up at that hour for several days straight to hike to their own spots to paint  before sunrise. I had my eye on a huge boulder by the lake, but by the time I hiked over there and did a pencil study of it, I began looking at these smaller groups of rocks nearby against the reflected colors in the water, from the trees and granite bluff on the opposite shore. While I was working on this, I could spy my cohorts across the lake, sipping coffee and conversing... probably eating bacon as well. 

More to come.


Tegan Clancy said...

Sounds like an amazing trip, and you have gorgeous studies to prove it. The colour you captured is beautiful

Anonymous said...

• • • You have such a wonderful way with texture and color, Bill. I am FOREVER a fan!

TJ said...

What a trip. Do you come back home exhilarated, tired or a combination of both? I love your water and the color gradations as the depth changes in the mountain pools. Looking forward to seeing more.

Bill Cone said...

Thanks Tegan and Anonymous (Michael B.?) for the kind remarks.
TJ: Yes, exhilarated and tired. It takes awhile to return to my regular state of mind. Nice to be clean, and sleep better, but the immersion of painting with other artists in such a beautiful place is worth the hike, the dust, etc. Plus, we ate well!

Michael Reardon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Reardon said...

I always look forward to your annual Sierra recap. Fine writing and great painting!

Bill Cone said...

Thanks Michael!

Thelma said...


peggy d Post said...

I love to follow the Granite group on your trips. You're so fortunate to be out there with all that talent.