Alluvial Fan-Rocky Mountain National Park

I had been to Rocky Mountain National Park numerous times over the years. Living in Florida I can appreciate the beauty of it’s mountainous landscapes. The day we set aside for the park was peak summer season and many of the parking lots were full, leading us to look for new spots to explore that were not so popular.

Exploring Alluvial Fan

It was near the end of the day and we’d seen friends at another spot and they mentioned the Alluvial Fan area. We had never gone and decided to try it. Our kids were the age where they loved climbing around on the large boulders. My husband and I were snapping photos enjoying the scenery, and telling the kids to stay close, be careful. Our wonder and awe quickly turned to terror and concern as my husband saw my son slide out of view and yell.

The Rockies are not Disney world, there are no guardrails, cell signal is spotty, access remote and missteps can have dire consequences. We both rushed to get to our son afraid of what we’d find. The water was cold and fast. Thankful our fear was short lived and we found our son, drenched, but unharmed. He had slid into a shallow wet rock bowl and couldn’t climb out himself, but was unharmed.

And that was the end of our sight seeing in the mountains. That summer we had spent 2 weeks exploring various national parks, climbing, hiking without incident. We were glad this happened at the end of our trip and not the beginning. Now we look back and chuckle about it, and yet we are reminded how we need a proper respect for the wildness of nature.

This is the second time (or should I say third that I painted the area.) I painted a panoramic triptych a few years back that found its forever home in a remote place in Montana. I was going through photos of our trip, wanting to paint some more mountain scenes and ran across the ones of the Alluvial Fan. I painted a vertical landscape of the spot in May. I was happy with how the painting turned out, but every time I looked at it I was imagining a horizontal panoramic piece. So I decided to add a second panel.

First painting of the area done in 2019.
Painting I finished in May.

I usually work using primarily one photograph for a painting, with possible other images to help get the details right. I don’t aim for photo realism , but find the longer I look at a photo, the more I see; colors and textures to paint. So for the second panel I didn’t have a photo of what was adjacent. I had some of the area in general, but there was a little more freedom to decide where rocks will go, colors in the water, how the sky would look. Usually that slows me down, but this time it seemed to work and I enjoyed placing things that were believable and yet with an eye on how the composition came together. With any multi panel piece I strive for both the painting over all and each panel to work.

Two panels together and complete. (Each piece is 30×40 inches)
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.