Saturday, October 8, 2011

Maroon Bells

Ahhh... it's finally autumn.

Autumn in the desert is much more subtle than the painting you see here. This scene is in Colorado. The distant mountains are the Maroon Bells near the town of Aspen.

Fall must be the most popular time to visit the area. The road leading to the parking lot is closed to all but a few people, and one must go to a park in Aspen to catch a shuttle bus that hauls tourists to the parking lot, where they can see the mountains and Maroon Lake which often appears in photos.

That day, I arrived there in the early afternoon. I didn't know where the park was and didn't have enough money for the shuttle. So I walked. I was told at the gate that the Maroon Bells come into view after the first six miles, and the parking lot and lake were two miles beyond that.

Well, I managed to trudge the first six miles uphill, and that was all I could handle that day after picking up unsold artwork from an exhibit in Glenwood Springs. Plus, although the day was partly cloudy when I arrived, in typical Colorado fashion, it completely clouded over by the time I saw the peaks. I even got drizzled on. It figures.

So I took pictures of the Bells and the surrounding area, saw some deer and eventually turned around and walked back to my truck.

This painting, then, is one of the works I made from that little walk. Instead of the usual Maroon Lake, I included Maroon Creek in the scene which -- except for the distant mountains -- is not exactly how things looked. (I pulled out my artists' license for this painting). I wanted to paint a different version of Maroon Bells, not the same view that millions of other folks photograph or paint.

One of the problems with painting the creek instead of the lake is how it brings out the "everyone's a critic" tendency in people. One man at an art show who saw the piece rolled his eyes in -- disgust? -- and pointed out there should be a lake there. I told him the lake was two miles up from where I was at that time. I'm not sure he believed me or not, but that does happen in the world of art.

Well, anyway, I love fall -- it seems like a feeling similar to the migratory instinct comes alive in me. Autumn makes me feel both excited and anxious at the same time.

Maybe I'm part duck. =)