29 June 2019

A Rejuvenating Day

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It's too easy to become a hermit these days.  There's always plenty to keep me busy at home.  Without work obligations to add order to my days, I find I need to make a concerted effort to spend time away from home.  Hearing that Trail Ridge Road had re-opened after a Summer solstice snowstorm, was incentive to get out for the day and take a drive to see the banks of snow remaining!  I remember the first time our family visited here in July of 1964, and asking my parents if it ever snowed up here in the summertime.  While I don't remember their answer, it wasn't long after that we had to pull off the road near this same spot as a storm blew through and dropped about 2" of snow!  Winter is never very far away on the high peaks and alpine tundra! 

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This view of the "Never Summer Range" is one of my favorites.  On this day, the wind was blowing well and the cloud shadows moved quickly across the peaks.  It's been cold and snowy enough, that the tundra plants have not yet started to green up and bloom ~ definitely late this year!  

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After making my way back down from the high peaks, I headed for a quieter corner of the park.  Upper Beaver Meadows is off the beaten track and offers a lovely vista of Longs Peak.  It's also a great spot for birding and observing the wildflowers as well as an assortment of wildlife.  There was a wedding taking place near where I usually park however, and it kept me from doing the small hike I had hoped to do.  What a gorgeous place for a ceremony though!  

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A little ways down the road, I was able to stop and take in the beauty of these Rocky Mountain iris!  The dresses of the bridesmaids at the wedding echoed the lovely deep purples of the iris buds! 

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So beautiful!  

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Along the roadsides, the Locoweed was blooming beautifully!  It ran from shades of white, to this soft lilac, to a light violet shade depending upon the clump.  

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I love the sunlight streaming through the trees and highlighting the contrast of the red tree trunks against the green grass.  All the late snow this year means everything is much greener than is typical.  

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I headed for yet another quiet corner of the park.  Usually the only folks in this area are hiking to and from the Fern Lake Trail.  But if you get there early in the day or later in the afternoon, there are often open spots to park along the road.  It's one of my favorite spots in the park with a lovely aspen grove and tall grassy undergrowth.  

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It was the perfect spot to do a little plein air painting!  Loved being out of the hot sunshine and under the shade of the trees, yet enjoying the brilliant light on the little meadow and trees in the middle ground, all accompanied by a lovely view of the peaks in the distance! 

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Here's a better shot of the painting I did.  Plein Air painting is more about capturing a sense of a place, the light, the feel of it, rather than being a refined painting of a place.  I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out!  Using water mixable oil paints makes it easy - no volatile mineral spirits to carry and worry about spilling - just a container of water and some baby wipes for cleanup.  Better for the environment, better for me!

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By the time I was done painting, the light was getting lower in the sky, sending long shadows and shafts of light through the trees.  I love the way it filters down and illuminates small areas, turning this branch of Rocky Mountain maple into an exquisite sculpture.  

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While driving out of the park, I spotted this glistening little rivulet tumbling down the hillside.  Just magical!

There's something about getting out and enjoying a beautiful place like this that brushes away the small worries of life, restores hope, and lifts one out of the doldrums.  It's as though my soul can breathe again.  

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As I neared home, the sky turned soft in the lingering light.  It seems that evenings like this come only in June, and I am so grateful to have witnessed this one! The perfect ending to a lovely and rejuvenating day.   


One last note:
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The upcoming episode on my YouTube Channel will be about making these little ribbon flowers!  In it, I mention two books and wanted to give you the links to them.  (Please note that these are affiliate links, and while I may make a small amount if you make a purchase through them, they are at no extra cost to you) Thanks so much for visiting my YouTube Channel!  

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3 comments:

Shirlee Fassell said...

Wow never heard of the Never Summer Range! Your photos and your painting are wonderful! Looks like a glorious day!

Janice Smith said...

Lisa, this was a wonderful post filled with gorgeous photos. Your plein air paining is lovely; oh, how I wish I had the ability to paint as you do. I spent the weekend in Vermont at a quilt show and then spent some time capturing weathered old covered bridges with my camera.

just joan said...

so very nice that you are posting to your blog again! I checked just to see your name out there and what a pleasant surprise! I will look forward to following again and being inspired with photos and needlework!