Hiking Huckleberry Point, Giant Ledge, and Panther Mountain

tephen and I had a great day hiking in the Catskills today! He took the day off work and we hiked up Panther Mountain. The views from the summit of Panther are pretty impressive, but halfway up there’s a series of ledges, called Giant Ledge, with really nice views where we could actually see more. That’s where I stopped to sketch, both on the way up and the way back down.
Looking east from Giant Ledge
Near the summit of Panther we first heard, then saw a Blackburnian Warbler– such a brilliantly colored, beautiful bird! We’ve only seen a Blackburnian a couple of times, so this was a real treat. This bird didn’t seem too wary and even came down closer and sang just above us. We mostly saw him from below, so my sketch (done from memory a little later) is of that angle.
Blackburnian Warbler Panther Mountain 071017
This was my first time using one of the new soft-cover Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, and I am sold on them! I’ve filled many of the hardcover Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, but this one weighs so much less than the hardcover sketchbooks, and, at least with the Beta paper I was using, I had no problem with it being firm enough to paint against. 
Last week, on the Fourth of July, we also went hiking in the Catskills, that time to Huckleberry Point. That was a pretty easy hike with a beautiful view and many delicious wild blueberries. As usual, I sketched while Stephen figured out what mountains we were seeing, then I added the names into my sketch.
Huckleberry Point view

After today’s fairly long hike (6+ miles) I was really hungry, so we detoured through Rhinebeck on the way home to stop at the Matchbox Cafe, my favorite place to get a burger and fries. It was a great finale to a great day of hiking and spending time with Stephen!

Hiking and painting on the Quiet Side

The Quiet Side of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island is aptly named and full of beauty that one can enjoy in silence and solitude. As I drove along the Loop Road in Acadia National Park, even the not-quite-busy season crowds were enough on a beautiful Saturday in early June to deter me from stopping and sketching as often as I would have otherwise. Then I drove across to the Quiet Side and felt all tension melt away as I left the crowds of people and lines of cars behind.

I stayed for a few delightful days with a friend in a little one room cottage in the village of Southwest Harbor. Jana is an incredible artist who has spent a great deal of time exploring and painting all over Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park (see her website here– Jana Matusz), and over the days I stayed with her she shared many of her favorite hiking and painting spots with me. We hiked out to less-known but beautiful spots where we painted the coast or the woodlands. We watched a Peregrine Falcon fly in with food for her chicks, we saw a gorgeous Common Loon on her nest trying to be invisible, we saw an Osprey carrying a fish to its nestlings and then flying away with it again (did the chicks turn up their noses at it?), we climbed the aptly named Perpendicular Trail, we bushwacked down to a beautiful waterfall, and we tried, as so many have, to push Bubble Rock off the cliff where it hangs seemingly so precariously, and, of course, we ate lobster!

Like me, Jana likes to hike and paint quietly, so we both greatly appreciated the spirit of the Quiet Side. While we often chatted and laughed while driving from place to place, we hiked mostly without speaking, marveling at the play of light and shadow on birch trees along the trail or the various songs of myriad birds who mostly remained unseen or sudden vistas opening out before us. Then once we’d decided on a place to paint, we’d fall into a comfortable and companionable silence, each focused on our work, each appreciating the spot in our own way and attempting to capture it with our brushes. Be sure to check out Jana’s paintings on her website. We use different mediums and paint very differently, but I love her work and learn from studying every painting of hers.

It was a wonderful few days of hiking and sketching and I am eager to return and do some more exploring and painting. Many thanks to Jana for sharing her love and knowledge of the Quiet Side!

(Click on images to see larger image)

Cooksey Drive Overlook at Ingraham Point
Jana painting at Ingraham Point– very sunny day!
Wonderland View
Bubble Rock
Me trying to push Bubble Rock (it is estimated to weigh 181 tons!)
Sketching the beaver lodge from a beaver stump
Duck Brook Beaver Lodge
Lower Hadlock Pond Falls
Ship Harbor Trail and Thurston’s Lobster Pound