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Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 36: Tower Creek near Tower Falls (7/10/15)

Tower Creek, watercolor.

One exciting thing I forgot to mention a few days ago is that I sold two paintings! To an awesome couple I met at Old Faithful on Fourth of July. I met up with Angela on my last night in the Tetons to give her the Old Faithful painting, and she bought ether painting of Mount Owen too! We had a glass of wine and talked and it was so nice to spend time with a new friend. She is incredibly kind and genuine, and offered me a place to stay in San Fransisco. Thanks Angela! :)

Tower Falls were deserted this morning when I visited after securing a campsite. I hiked down past the falls to the Yellowstone River, hoping to see a glimpse of the base of the falls. The trail is closed...I thought about going down it anyway but the word "arrest" on the sign deterred me. I went back to my campsite and cooked breakfast (I was feeling adventurous) which was good because just as I finished eating it started to rain. Hung out in my car and worked on my blog until it cleared up. I went back to Tower Falls to find it PACKED. just jam packed with people. There's one small viewing platform and no other place to view the falls, so I decided if I really wasn't to paint here I have to come early in the morning. I went back to my campsite and decided to venture into Tower Creek, where Moran did a loose watercolor sketch. I decided to try out my little travel watercolor set. I packed my small day pack and stool and walked from my campsite on the trail to Tower Creek. It was a lovely spot to work...quiet, secluded, surrounded by pine trees. I'd been running around all day and had just felt antsy to get outside working. Working with watercolor was different - much quicker, less detailed, freer. It is something I could see myself doing on long hikes or bike trips when taking oil paint wouldn't be practical, or when the goal of the trio isn't for me to spend a few hours painting. But I also get similar, if not better results in my sketchbook with notes about color, because the drawing can capture more detail then I can with watercolor. I'm happy with how it turned out and I'll do a few more on the trip, as a nod to my Admired Artist.

After spending about an hour in the creek, I decided to drive into Canyon to update my blog and talk to some rangers about my plan for the Canyon area. I got a milkshake at this retro diner in Canyon Village and a fun mom couldn't believe I was old enough to be engaged (I'll love this in ten years, I keep promising myself) and I chatted with a cashier from Taiwan working here for the summer who said "goodbye Mrs. Emily" as I left. It's got a nice ring to it, maybe I'll go by my first name when I become a Mrs.

I don't want to sound ungrateful or not enchanted with Yellowstone...but I haven't been incredibly inspired the past few days. Maybe it is a mid trip lull. I am excited to get to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone because I think it will be the most magnificent landscape in the area, and is what most strongly captured Thomas Moran's artistic eye (there's a reason he didn't do massive oil paintings of geysers and hot springs after his trips). I didn't realize until now how much I thoroughly enjoyed being in mountains. The Tetons and the Rocky Mountains really were highlights for me on this trip and both places I was sad to leave, and felt I was leaving too soon. So in addition to many other things I am developing a taste for the landscapes I am most drawn to paint.

Hoping to be caught up very soon so I can do more reading - but it's overwhelming, I have three books on Moran and Yellowstone full of awesome info and insights. So much to learn!!!

Tower Falls
Hike down to Yellowstone River.
Tower Creek meeting the Yellowstone.
Yellow, stone!
Yellowstone River near Tower Falls.
Tower Creek, right near my campsite. My first plein air watercolor.
Tower Creek by Thomas Moran
Driving to Canyon to get some intel from Rangers.
Canyon visitor center has a reproduction of Moran's Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Albert Bierstadt painted here too.
And a new artist I hadn't heard of, Abby Williams Hill. Will have to check out more of her work.
Oh hey big guy.
That heavenly light...




  1. Love the watercolor!
    And, all your photos!
    We have always loved the mountains...even on a bicycle!
    Love, mom