Yesterday I went on an amazing snowshoe adventure at San Jacinto State Park, above Palm Springs. It was my first time snowshoeing, so I was excited, but a bit nervous.
As a surfer, most of my time is spent near the ocean- so I am always prepared with the proper gear for that. But the snow? Not so much. I have a few bits and pieces left over from ski trips of yore, but these days I have to rely on borrowing gear from friends.
I live 2 blocks from the beach, and trust me- that is no complaint. But lately I've been yearning for the pure open air, trees, altitude, and expansive views of valleys and mountains. When I found a group that was headed to San Jacinto for showshoeing, I jumped at the opportunity. The night before, as I packed my gear for an early morning departure, I spontaneously threw some miniature paints and a small canvas in my pack. The purpose of this trip was not to make art; it was to meet like-minded people who share my passion for outdoor adventure. However, I figured I might be able to snag a moment during lunch, to break out my art supplies for a super quick sketch.
Hiking up a mountain in snowshoes was definitely challenging, but it came fairly naturally to me.
Well... for the most part.
We climbed and climbed...
made a few minor detours..and climbed some more.
Finally we reached the first peak. The views were absolutely breathtaking. The white snow contrasted starkly against the deep green pines, and brilliant, almost electric cobalt blue sky. It was almost too much for the eyes to take in.
Between fistfuls of my soggy sandwich, and bites of chocolate bar, I hurried to set up a make-shift plein air paint setup. (Which consisted of a ziplock bag as my paint palette, and a wet paper towel to clean my brush on)
We only sat down for about 20-30 minutes, so I was forced to capture the scene and color notes quickly.
I feel like painting under these conditions usually produces my best work- simpy because I don't have the luxury of time on my hands to over-think or over-paint, thereby losing the fresh, spontaneous brushwork.
The entire experience was so much fun- a breath of fresh mountain air- literally!
I'm so used to doing this stuff alone, that I really got a lot out of making art in a whole new way- doing what I love surrounded by awesome, like-minded people.