We take a break for a snack lunch. We are feeling more comfortable in our wilderness surroundings and decide to split up for an afternoon painting session. Gini wants to work on her forest painting back at Our Quiet Place and I’m determined to do the “River Glow” painting as the sun goes down. We check with each other to make sure we each have our bear spray with us.

The photo of the scene that I want to capture during my plein air session.

I still have a couple of hours before the light is right. Time to write in my journal in the shade. It’s another hot one today. How fortunate we are to have such great weather during this wilderness adventure. The sun is blazing so the umbrella is positioned to give shade to my backpack, my box of art supplies and myself—no small feat! I wear nylon long pants and long sleeve shirt because the little black flies are relentless.

Working in a small square of shade, writing in my journal and adding a watercolor illustration.

The time is approaching so I set up my easel in position. I realize that the water in the river is dropping, day after day. Puddles are shrinking—it all happens so quickly if one is watching and paying attention.

To begin the painting, I block in the shapes of the landscape elements based on my photo of 2 days ago. The foreground puddle has shrunken significantly and it’s an important part of the composition so I use my photo. I plan to do a time-lapse of this painting session and I have my cell phone set up on a tripod so that if films over my shoulder.

As I’m working I’m startled by two teen boys who suddenly show up. After 4 days of not seeing anyone except rafters as they float by, I literally jump when they say hello. They are friendly but I’m wary. They seem harmless but they don’t explain who they are. We exchange a few pleasantries and I have to shut off my time-lapse on my phone which had just started recording.

The boys leave and then Gini comes down from the rock and tells me they are part of 15 or so Boy Scouts. Soon three men show up on the beach and give us the story. They are the adult Scouts overseeing the troupe. They are all from Houston, Texas, and they will be rafting down the river. They made a wrong turn and should have gone down to the river at the fork in the trail which is at least 1/2 mile back or more.

The adults are allowing the boys to make the decisions and solve their situation. It’s part of the badge they are earning for this adventure. The boys have to demonstrate decision-making skills and problem solving. They are all tired but there isn’t room here on our rock or in Our Quiet Place for them all to camp. And I certainly prefer not to have 18 guys using our outhouse. Not to mention that we have been warned by the Forest Rangers not to let anyone inside the cabin or stay with us. We wish them good luck as they leave walking up the trail back the way they came.

I can finally go back to my painting and start my time-lapse again. Gini goes up to the cabin to take a bath. We brought along a solar shower which has been sitting out in the sun all day. It heats up the water nicely.

Our solar shower bag. It was such a luxury to be able to bathe in warm water.

I develop the painting and finally the light starts to happen! I can’t believe how fast the sun moves. I have been waiting for 2-3 hours for just the right light and I get 10 minutes of the glow on the river.

In this time-lapse video, I started and stopped it numerous times and my wonderful husband stitched them all together. At the end of the video, you’ll notice the light has changed—the sun has moved behind the mountain and the slope opposite me is in shadow. I continue to work on the piece from memory, recording the light on the water.

Although I didn’t finish the painting onsite, I worked on it at home in my studio. I also did a large version of it for the “2 Sides to Every Story” exhibit. This is the final painting.

Titled “Golden Seduction”, 18″ x 27″, pastel on archival board