This was an unusual challenge.
Driving down Mt. Rainier a couple of weeks ago, I could see the road curve over a bridge up ahead. As I crossed it, I glanced upstream to briefly see a massive logjam wedged up into a chasm with a waterfall gushing out the bottom. My view couldn`t have been a whole second, but I knew I had just seen a spectacle, a scene of terrible beauty. The force of that flood dragging all those trees into this impasse must have been truly awesome. This is not the nature I see on my nice walks in the forest. This was brutal and impersonal. Such views are common in Alaska but down here it takes a National Park or somewhere remote to see this kind of evidence of natural violence.
It burned into my memory. Not the facts but the feeling of 'wildness'. That`s what I had to go by, having no recollection of of shapes, colors or scale. In a sense I paint like this all the time. I move paint around until it looks like how the place felt. But I usually have a photo or drawing to help build the scaffold. With this it was just a fleeting glimpse of hundreds of fallen trees straining against the mountain. I began hoping to execute a true watercolor, but quickly saw I would be doing major revisions all along the way so out came the acrylics. It was a battle.
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