Mt. Mitchell and the Cirque of the Towers

On the way up I hiked around Big Sandy to the less populated far side, set up camp and enjoyed the view of Warbonnet (left) and Mt. Mitchell (right), together they frame Big Sandy lake and pass. This was a morning view from my camp, a good time to paint before I hiked up there.

I often start with a pencil sketch, and in this case I colored in with watercolors while waiting for the larger painting to dry:


Here is the start on a 10" x 13" watercolor:

This view from Big Sandy Lake to the west is more gently sloping and a more meadowy landcape, and gets nice morning light.




Mt. Mitchell from Lonesome Lake - it is often cloudy up there in the Cirque of the Towers.

I sat between drizzles, still tired and a bit nauseous from the 10,000 altitude and sketched:


And another rough sketch to the west:

Sometimes it takes some warming up. I walked around the lake then started another larger painting of Mt. Mitchell in the grey mist between drizzles:


I was feeling comfortable now and felt it important to layout what I wanted and do a more detailed pencil sketch. I hiked up a little ways on the hill opposite.

And a start on another larger watercolor from this broader field of view.



I felt like I had what I'd need to complete two or three good paintings of Mt. Mitchell. No use fighting the weather, but there is also much more here to enjoy.

Pingora - this is the very steep one opposite Mt. Mitchell in the Cirque of the Towers:

Pingora briefly in the sun. Another quick sketch and a start on a watercolor. Even in the quick sketch, before I can get it the sunlight was gone.

And a watercolor:



Mount Mitchell, from meadow southeast of Lonesome Lake. It was thursday morning, time to get going. The sunnier it is the quicker and more severe the thunderstorms will come up. It was raining by the time I reached Big Sandy Lake and continued much of the night and next day, with thunder booming and echoing from the high country I had left just in time.


A reflection on a that early sunny morning when I had to leave:


I think I'll also paint a composition as in the pencil-only sketch with the lighting and morning colors of the early morning sun from this reflection - they aren't nearly as nice in the direct photo shot from the same time.

Let me know what you think...



Mark Vinsel