Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sierra Crest
plein air oil sketch
6 x 8

I'm back from my five day camping trip with my friend Shawn. This year we dipped a bit further south and set up camp in the White Mountains to avoid the incoming snowstorm which was due to hit the Yosemite and Bridgeport areas. Good thing we did. Though the weather was cold, (my water bottle was frozen solid in my tent most nights), we did avoid getting snowed on and stayed dry. The days were crisp and sunny for the most part.

During one "warm" afternoon I managed to break out the pochade box and paint up a rendition of the Sierra crest to the west. This is the view from our home base campsite at about 8500' elevation on the White Mountain range.

The first night we stayed at the Tioga Lodge which is perched at the edge of the western shore of Mono Lake in Lee Vining. It is the last bit of civilized comfort we enjoy before heading for the hills. This photo was taken just as the full moon was rising over the eastern shore of Mono Lake.

We found these branches along the shore, they were bleached bone white and were crusted with a powdery coating, probably dried salt from the lake.

As an artist I'm always "branching out". The following morning we would go off road a bit to explore the Mono cinder cones and eventually drive down the Owens Valley to Big Pine where we'd begin our ascent up the White Mountains to visit the oldest living things on earth. More about that on Friday.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading about your art adventure. Nice plein air.....

  2. Very nice plein air. What a view it must have been.

  3. Frank~ thank you- And I do need more art adventure in my life!

  4. Erik~ Thank you, too. You're right, the views were amazing. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This looks like such a great escape! Lisa and I backpacked/camped with a group at Mono when she was in high school...I never forgot how much you can get away from in all and how much we need that. I'm sure it inspired/informed your artistic side, obviously!

  6. Kit~ It was. Mono lake has a very primordial feel to it- like stepping back in time. Years ago, Shawn and I 4WD to the back eastern side which really felt desolate and ancient. I remember distinctly the coyotes barking and baying at night.

  7. Denny-
    Loved the post, but wish I was half as photogenic as you!
    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design