Sunday, November 3, 2019


DH and I decided to go to Grand Teton National Park the first Saturday in October to find out if we could hear the bull elk bugle.

The autumn weather had deteriorated into winter very early.  So there was snow on the highway as we went up Teton Pass.  It wasn’t deep or icy but a wakeup to what we would see at lower elevations in a few weeks.  We got into the park so early there wasn’t even a ranger at the entrance booth to check us in.  It was just very dark.

So dark we almost ran over a pronghorn who was out looking for some early breakfast.

 Sunrise was just beginning when we reached String Lake parking lot.  We weren’t alone.  There were others with cameras and tripods probably there for the same reason we were.

   Daylight let us see that new snow had frosted the mountains and trees.  The sunrise turned the snow lavender and then pink.  We listened for elk and heard almost nothing.  Finally we heard some bugling far away from the lake.  The big bulls were cold and not in the mood for love.

But that was okay since the scenery was outstanding.  The air was so still the water in the lake was a mirror for the forest and the grand peaks.  The high fog lifted just enough for us to see the mountain tops and the reflected sunlight.

We took the trail to Leigh Lake far enough we could see Mount Moran and its quiet reflection in the water.  The beauty was mind-boggling.

I shot photo after photo as the morning slowly burned off the mist on the peaks.

The changing angle of the sunrise and the moving clouds enhanced every view.

We went back to Jenny Lake where the sights were just as scenic and amazing.

It was very much worth the early rising and the dark drive to see such magnificence.

Even leaves on the path were picturesque.

So we didn’t see or hear much from the elk but we did see a few birds like this Clark's nutcracker trying to catch a few warm rays of sunshine.

On our way back to Jackson for breakfast at The Bunnery we got a good look at a big bull moose.  What you can’t see in this photo is the crowd of paparazzi with their big cameras and zoom lenses taking the same photos I was.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

HANNAH BRIDGE-Linn County Oregon

Oregon has more covered bridges than any other state west of the Mississippi. Pioneers put coverings over their wooden bridges to keep them from rotting away in the Northwest’s damp weather.
I did a road tour of some of the bridges of Linn County one bright September morning and came away with a camera full of reference photos for my paintings.  The large side openings and arched doorways of Hannah Bridge caught the sunshine and cast inviting shadows across the interior.   

After some struggles with darks and lights and then having fun with colors, I came up with this portrait of Hannah.

I started with a sketch which I used to establish a composition and some of the values before transfering the line drawing to watercolor paper.

I put in a loose background of backlit greens and some deeper colors of shrubbery.

Then I added more detail to the trees and bushes before working on the bridge itself.

It was a challenge to avoid putting in every detail of the trusses and beams.  When I felt I had that handled, I started working the with complementary colors of purple and yellow in the lights and darks of the bridge.

The finished product has a nice depth and dimension.  It brings back the serenity of that morning and seems to invite further exploration of the lush Willamette Valley.  

You can find this piece and many more of my paintings here at my Etsy site.