One of my many plein air trips into the Sierras I ventured up the 17 mile trail to get a look at this behemoth. It’s majestic face towering high above the lake was well worth the effort. I have been enamored with this area of the southwest through the paintings of some of my favorite painters; Edgar Payne for one. The striking view of the big rock had just enough snow to describe the craggy surface and gentle slopes. It always takes my breath away. These mountains have such an imposing personality depending on their mood. Rugged, desolate, watchful, inaccessible, frightfully wild, I have seen it all. This day the mountain was welcoming, seeming to say “hi, let me be the gracious host and provide you with a visual treat!” Nothing could have been better for the painter with the glaciers butting up against the sky, the shadows cast on the snow and reflecting the dark azure blue of the zenith straight above it. Not to mention lake, deep with glacier water can be the most delicious color ranging from icy green to a deep teal. I slightly idealize my landscape paintings, moving mountains, trees, water for pictorial effect and composition. I like to paint them the way I want to remember them. Sometime one even needs to import something from the left, or right or even behind you. But up there, there is no stress in finding fodder to create a good composition. The trees make dark vertical shapes that jut up and against the backdrop of the grey rock. And the water is like glittering jewels, sending little glints of light that activation it’s surface. Yep, nothing to paint here, just pictorial perfection.
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