Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Monday, September 6, 2010

Painting in the High Sierras: Day 5

Ah, the last day of painting in the mountains! The wind was pretty bad during the night, preventing me from a good night's rest. Burrowing deep in the sleeping bag helped, but then it got too warm. May be next time I'll bring ear plugs!

When I awoke and stuck my head out the tent, it was so cold that I retreated right away back into my cozy nest and slept another hour. When I finally emerged - lured by the promise of hot coffee - it was still pretty nippy.

Though we didn't have a thermometer, we guessed that the temperature was in the low 40Fs, plus the wind chill factor of... I don't know exactly, but it was icy and penetrating.

Hot breakfast. A little extra calorie intake this morning. Kate fried up some sausages, which we ate quickly because everything got cold so fast.

Cody, our fearless protector from bears, was not a morning dog.

When the sun finally rose above the peaks and warmed the valley, we were able to move and get to painting. The wind persisted though, so I decided not to hike out far with my gear. In fact I stayed right were we were, and painted Kate's saddle. It was a challenging little still life, but I love how it turned out. I'm particularly happy with the economy of brush and the abstract quality of the non-focal areas.

After lunch, I tried painting a view of some boulders nearby, but it got way too windy and I had a difficult time focusing on the task at hand. I ended up scraping that one after about an hour.

So I came back to the kitchen area where it was somewhat protected from the gusts, and did another still life, this time of Kate's authentic cowgirl boots. Those spurs aren't decorations~

This one was done rather quickly - it's a simple idea and design, no tricky color issues and no huge distances to convey. Drawing was the only thing I needed to really watch out for, and that worked out pretty nicely. This was the last painting of the trip, and I was glad to have finished with a satisfactory piece.

Stroganoff for dinner. It was just the thing to warm up the body from the inside. Some good wine to go with it, too. The temperature was dropping so we didn't stay up too late.

Next morning, we packed up and headed out. There is one final thing to mention; on our hike out, big gray clouds started to grow quickly from the South, and by the time we reached the trail head, it caught up to us and it started snowing! In August? That's right, and you thought I was exaggerating when I said it was rather cold, didn't you.

Mindful of the speeding ticket I got on my first day, I drove home at speed limit, pissing off many an impatient driver. But no farther incidents.

It was an awesome week of painting and hanging out with friends, in an incredible setting. I'm looking forward to my next trip already!!

Don't forget to check out Bill Cone's blog to see what beautiful paintings he did on this trip!


  1. Terry thanks for your detailed account of the trip. I really enjoyed reading your posts and admiring your paintings. Cheers!

  2. Love both the saddle and the boots, Terry. You excel at these types of personal pieces. What a fabulous trip and something I'd so love to do myself one day!

  3. Terry- what a terrific travelogue of paintings, settings and wonderful black and white photos.
    Those cowgirl boots and dog named Cody! Central Casting could not have put together two things that better represented your adventure.
    Great post- Thank you.
    Bill Cones' work is, just as you said, so worth having a look at.

  4. Thanks Dalibor, Autumn, Bonnie, and Trevor!

    I'm glad you enjoyed the posts~ I hope to do more traveling (and painting and posting about it) once the economy picks up!