I have painted in many different locations, but this particular collage started in a unique place. The piece was titled “On the Top” for a reason!
On a warm summer day there was talk of taking a hike with my family. We were going to explore a hiking trail at The Pinnacles in Berea, Kentucky. I was told it was a beautiful area, so I thought I might be able to do some plein air work. Our group of ten jumped into cars and drove over to the trail.
This was a definite learning experience as a plein air artist. Climbing a rocky hiking trail is hard, but doing that with a heavy book bag and travel easel strapped to your side is another level of hard. That comfortable warm air became sticky hot pretty fast. I was so thankful that the trail had a smooth path and was sheltered by trees. The shade made the trek bearable. I trudged along, enjoying the forest but wondering if bringing my supplies was a good idea.
Some of our trail party had been to this place before and were leading us to a special spot. The trail became steeper. The trees began to thin out. We started seeing large rock formations along the edge of our walking path. I walked on top of one of these large rocks and was able to see for miles over a huge forest of green tree tops and puffy white clouds. It was exciting as we neared the end of the trail, reaching the very top of the famous Pinnacle. This spot had two huge rock stacks and a narrow path that snaked between and around them. I was able to set up my easel right at the entrance to this walkway. It was a unique composition formed by these two multi-colored rock structures that made a path for your eyes to the tree tops in between them. The rocks glowed in the sunshine. I set up my easel on the edge of the rock walkway and prepped my space.
The rest of the family explored around the top as I squirted my acrylics out. My husband set up our tripod and camera so we could do a time lapse of the day as I’ve been trying to document my plein air experiences. As I got my brushes ready, my cousins quizzed me on what I was doing. It became a quick moment for an art lesson. They watched as I painted the first layer. It was fun to have an audience watch my process in the middle of the woods. I was energized by the laughter and smiles. I was able to work for more than an hour in the beautiful Kentucky hills.
I liked the composition I had laid in with my bright colors. I was content with where I had stopped. It was time to finish the collage at home. I didn’t want to leave a mess of my papers all over the trail. I began the descent back down with a happy heart.