Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Painting in the High Sierras: Day 2

On Tuesday, we all woke up really early to watch the first light blast the Western peaks. Despite being tired from the hike up, I don't know if any of us slept well because the wind picked up during the night. If you've ever slept in a tent during high winds, you know what I mean. It is LOUD. You can hear it coming, too. I would be lying there, half asleep, and and I start to hear the wind blowing in the distance. The volume grew steadily louder as it came closer, and closer, and all of a sudden, BAM! it hits the tent and threatens to blow it away. The anticipation of the impact is almost as bad as the shuddering and fluttering when the wind actually hits. Needless to say, it's not easy to sleep under those conditions.

Bleary eyed, I emerged from the tent to watch the peaks turning rosey in the morning light, greeted my campmates, ("mornin'..... sleep well?..... me neither.") and sipped my gritty cowboy brew.

We were eager to get painting, though, and so we set up around the camp and got to work. I faced my easel toward the mountains to the South;

The big rocky hill in the middle distance was still all in shadow when I started, but light quickly changed and half an hour into it, it was all lit up. I decided to keep it in shadow in my painting. It was pretty cold (temperature in the 40F 's?) until the sun hit the valley. The paint felt a little stiff and so did my fingers, but I was loving it~

Breakfast!! Ahh...eggs, bacon, fruit, and english muffins. At home I usually never eat in the morning but out here, I pigged out. I could feel my senses waking up finally.

After breakfast, I set up atop some rocks overlooking the lake, and painted the far shore.

You don't see me use THAT color very often, but there it was, so here it is.

Look how clear the water is! We got our drinking water straight out of the creek feeding into the lake. Just pure glacier water. It tasted so much better than the bottled water we usually get from the stores. Didn't get sick, either.

Can you hear the Sound of Music soundtrack in the background?

My last sketch of the day. For a few hours after lunch when the sun is high and the light flat, I lounged around in my tent, trying to take a nap. Even though I was sleepy, I couldn't sleep because the tent was in the sun and it got a little too warm inside. So I read, I sketched, I strategized. I walked around and watched my friends paint, and waited for the golden hour. At around 3:30, I set up and started to paint. The sun leaves the valley early up here because the surrounding peaks are so high. But the tops of the Eastern peaks stay lit for a long time before it finally turns pink, and then indigo. Very pretty.

I didn't paint THAT, because by then I had a glass of wine in my hand and dinner was almost ready.


  1. What a beautiful adventure! Exciting description of the wind approaching.

    I keep dwelling on your words; "finally turns pink, and then indigo". I want to paint something with those colors now.

    fyi; the word verification code was 'bacon taz'. weirdly appropriate.

  2. Awwww man, you guys did it the RIGHT way! I was in the same neighborhood, but did it in (much)less style, http://2laconic.blogspot.com/2010/08/fresh-air.html
    Looks like you guys had fun, and your paintings, as always, are brilliant!

  3. Beautiful stuff! Sounds amazing. Did the tent flatten with the wind and smack you in the face? That's when you know it's time to get out of Dodge.

  4. The water is phenomenal, Terry, both in the painting and in reality. In fact, my senses are overwhelmed with the beauty of this post!