Painting from the White Mountains: "Cloudsweep," A Grand Oil on Canvas

in the studio landscape art oil painting White Mountain art White Mountain National Forest wilderness

My trips into New Hampshire’s White Mountains from Boston have been a bit more limited these last few years as my career as an archivist and studio artist slowly consumes the decade of my thirties. But the summers always see me there on the summits and trails for a solid week around July. The urge to set out begins in May as I start to pull together routes and pinpoint places on the map about which I’ve heard hushed and awed stories of beauty and challenge.

"Cloudsweep," oil on canvas, 20" x 45", 2016.
These trips have been on my own the past three years - as alone as one can be in a relatively small and extremely popular recreational area. Nonetheless, I go for the solitude, the continued proof of self-sufficiency, and for the way I feel the muscles in my neck reluctantly let go of their safety blanket of chaos and tension as I hike.

This past summer (2016) found me on the Presidential Range for the duration of my backpacking spree. Late in the week I spent two nights at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Madison Spring Hut and enjoyed the study, at all hours of the day, of my favorite little alpine mirror, Star Lake. I’ve painted this spot many times in watercolor, but I went home with a sense that I needed to do it again in the grand style of oils. Not on a small canvas either. It needed to be big. To express how open this pond is to the sky and surrounding peaks, its delicate grasses and flowers always exposed to cloud and storm.

“Cloudsweep” is the result. An expansive, letterbox canvas measuring forty-five inches across that captures the achingly blue sky reflected as a deeper blue in the erratic open patches of the water. Mount Washington hovers in the hazy distance and the shadows of Mount Adams loom on one side as the sun descends. It brings me back there, so I know I’ve come close.

I also filmed the entire creation of "Cloudsweep," in the form of this time-lapse video, so that you might see a bit about how the painting came together. Enjoy!

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