I was going to title this How I Spent My Summer Vacation, but after seeing the title of my last post… well, I just had to go with the theme. Quite the span of time, from late June thru to mid Sept, and while I may have committed the blogging sin of allowing too much time!! to go between posts and losing readership… well, consider me a sinner then. The weather was beautiful and there was just too much to do outside than sit inside hunched over my laptop. As it was, I barely got around to paying the bills and keeping our financial world afloat. What I did do, was pay homage to my love of all things Laura Ingalls Wilder by making jams, juices, canning and drying assorted veggies/fruits, pickling and other homey pioneer type chores.
We rebuilt the pump house, upgraded our water system, fenced the garden. I fixed gutter, gate and shed as well as replacing porch boards and molding around doors and windows. In between the myriad of chores and duties of the small farm owner, there were the half a dozen or so camping trips (with horse and without), visits with friends and family, a new puppy and the 24 chicks in my coop that are growing up to be our new layers and fryers. All amidst the crushing drought and crazy ass wildfires of the Pacific Northwest.
We are not out of the woods yet with that, major fires in Northern California and Washington are devastating lives and homes. We escaped a lightning strike fire just last week as fast acting neighbors and the local fire department put out the flames on a 100 foot tall Douglas Fir tree a mile from our home! We are all looking forward to the rain these days and hoping for cool weather that won’t bring thunderstorms our way. While careless people do start fires, the majority of fires out here are started by electrical storms. Hot summers, drought and thunderstorms are a bad combination.
And so, my art has taken a back seat. The painting I started in June became a thorn in my side, so it was removed from the easel and is awaiting a time when I can look at it objectively as opposed to the sneer I give it now. However, good news on the muse front! Inspiration was found on a wonderful 4 day solo backpacking trip to the Pacific Crest Trail. After painting visions of other women’s journeys, I have found my own while traversing the famous PCT.
It’s funny, I knew I was on a mission to take photos of the trail so I could add my own image to the Wilderness of Women series, but the one I picked to paint wasn’t what I had planned. Well, life doesn’t work according to plan sometimes. The second I took the shot, I knew what I was going to do.
It was time to put my studio dog, Scout, into another painting. Dogs have been a big part of my backpacking experience and she especially has been an integral part of my studio life. It all just made sense.
The balance needed for my painting however, is different from the snap shots I take in the field. Sometimes a photo is perfectly put together and I don’t have to do much manipulation, but that day, in that place, I couldn’t get the exact image. The painting is a compilation of 4 images, strung together and overlapped into a panoramic view. It captures my actual view while Scout and I sat at an elevation of 6850 feet and had a well earned lunch. It was a beautiful day and as I studied my position, I realized that by climbing up to this pass, I had hiked every bit of the PCT, from top to bottom on my map. It was a very good feeling, which must have made my muse happy because as soon as there was a lull in all my food preservation activities, she gave me this: (click on image for a full view)