This area of Jasper National Park is full to the brim with gorgeous waterfalls, rushing rivers and glacier-fed lakes, all wrapped in the protective and loving arms of the mountains that surround. The water is ice-cold. Locals will tell you that a minute in that water will kill you. If hypothermia doesn't get you, then the sharp intake of air that you suck in when you hit that frigid glacial water will drown you. If you are going under as you draw in that killing breath, that's the end for you.
Horseshoe Lake is a favorite painting spot for us. A 10 minute hike in from the highway brings me to this breathtaking location. I've painted this a few times, never well, always badly. Yet, the challenge is still inside of me to re-create this deep aquamarine-coloured lake on 300 lb.cold press paper. It has eluded me with every attempt. Some folks chase after the largest salmon or the biggest buck elk with the most points on his rack. Not me...I just want a small painting that doesn't embarrass me when I look at it! Some day...
After 3 hours in the chill autumn air, splashing pigment on paper, I give up, yet again. This painting is even worse than the previous sketches...like the lake is thumbing her nose at me, daring me to recreate her luscious beauty.
Packing my paints and brushes into my backpack, I walk slowly back twards the highway and the parking lot...and the bathroom! That icy rock formation that I've been sitting on for ages has made a potty pitstop a necessity!
The path to the parking lot is carved out of the mountainside and it is a struggle to climb it and walk safely while carrying my painting gear. Soon, though, I am out in the sunshine on the asphalt. After packing all of my painting paraphernalia back into my Denali, I stop for a few last photos of the cloud-covered mountain peaks. This is an amazing day for me...amazing.
A final few photos...
"Watercolor is a medium that can be as demanding and temperamental as those who choose to paint with it. But it is a colorful and exciting medium all the same – well suited to describing the many moods of the subject, as well as those of the artist wielding the brush." ~ Jean Burman