NOTE: I shall try to post several entries today to catch-up.The schedule has been whirlwind.
I have experienced many painting adventures the last few years. I must say that this one in the Adirondacks rivals all. It simply is one of the most magnificent landscapes I have yet beheld. Dramatic, majestic, ever-changing and wild. The panoramas are, in a word, breath-taking. Like viewing and experiencing up close a tremendous work of art. Yes, the hair has stood at attention on my arms many times and sometimes the eyes well up on cue of a new vista.
So, what a couple of days thus far. Wow. On the Wednesday after orientation, announcements, and breakfast I then painted with the wild-haired, continent-crossing Karen, who has logged some 10,000 miles since the Plein Air Convention in Monterey this Spring. She is traveling in her well-equipped Tahoe, sometimes tent-camping, often sleeping in dedicated space in the SUV, painting all the while. I wanted to compare notes and hear about her travels. We painted on a bluff on a lake near the Vic, the visitor and recreation center of campus that hosts a mountain lake and a boardwalk that winds through a bog and marsh area.
Regrettably, I did not paint particularly well. The wind was biting and I wasn’t necessarily inspired by my choice of subject – some dead trees lining the banks of the water, the lake at primary focus, the Mount St. Regis looming in the background. That afternoon, I took a boat tour of the chain of lakes and got to see - firsthand, up close and personal - the splendor of all the various ‘great camps’ on these waters, which have been in families for generations, starting in the late nineteenth century with the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, J.P. Morgan, and Camp Topridge, built by Marjorie Merriweather Post, founder of General Foods, daughter of C.W. Post, breakfast cereal and foods manufacturer magnate.
I shall try to post photos. The great camps themselves are sprawling and built in true Adirondack style, hosting many several rooms in the main house as well as guest cabins all around the estate. These tremendous properties are situated on hundreds and hundreds of acres. This was a woodsy retreat for the wealthy. Back in the day, most of the great camps could not be reached by road and guests and families arrived by water plane. Not much different than how I grew up in Indiana, really.
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In that I was painting from behind Rick, I had a vantage point seeing his tee shirt with a scary poodle on it that read: "In dog years, I'm dead." As we all painted together and all hail from Indiana, we became dubbed “The Hoosier Boys” in deference to T.C. Steele’s end-nineteenth century “The Hoosier Group” in Nashville, Indiana. Our foursome completes itself with our fearless leader, Eric Rhoads, who is originally from Fort Wayne. I painted fairly well, albeit a little heavy-handed.
C.W. and Rebecca had to leave to do the boat tour, so Rick and I turned easels and painted the river coming from the other direction. It was like brother, Theo, said of van Gogh: “he would get up at dawn, paint six or seven hours, eat a crust of bread, turn his easel in another direction and to it again. At the end of some sixteen or so hours, he would walk back into town with two magnificent canvases under his arms.” Wow.