Moraine Park

The forecast was ideal for a big outing today. I dropped off the girls and went all the way up to RMNP. Easier now that I have a pass, just swipe your card through the express lane at the entrance gate. I scouted around a bit off 36, up the slope. Surprisingly I wandered over the exact spot I painted Longs from last year. Took a lot of pictures but decided to go up Bear Lake Road to paint instead. Passed Moraine Park and decided on a spot east of the road, south of the artist's cabin. The south-facing slope is littered with massive boulders exposed to the intense light. I followed elk trails around the rocks and bushes, taking pictures. I've never seen so much elk scat. I decided on painting a rock perched on a larger table of rock, with an upside-down fallen tree trunk jutting up behind it. The rock cast a serious shadow with a nice luminosity to it, and Longs was aligned center above - just complicated enough. Trudged back to the car for all the stuff and felt something crawling on my leg. Ants. No, three ticks! First ticks I've seen, must have been from the elk. Scary big.

Painting was so-so, full of light and energy, but pushed too far without enough consideration for the initial composition. I quickly locked myself in with the rock centered in the picture, which didn't feel right from the start but I did nothing to adjust. Ticks a constant problem throughout the session. Is that something crawling up my leg? Even found one on my hat. Ugh. Wind present but not a huge factor. Easel arms/bars continually sliding down at the joints, requiring readjustment. Do I need a new one?? Paint jars scattered on the pine needles around me, paper towel pieces threatening to blow away.

I had a tremendous view south as well, so I started a second painting from the same spot. 20 minutes was about all I had in me. This one will get painted over.

Afterward I poked around Hollowell Park. Tremendous potential! Not as many people, super easy access, good orientation relative to the sun; smaller than Moraine Park but with more variety.

Total working time ~3 hours.