Sunday, August 26, 2007


Arrived today in the North Cascades to an intermittent misty drizzle. Clouds hung low over the surrounding mountains, giving me the feeling of driving down a long corridor, with tree-lined walls and a cottony ceiling.

There's something invigorating about travelling to a new place, particularly to a place outside one's home climate zone. I wouldn't have thought that Oregon and Washington were especially different from one another. I expected to be driving into mountains, perhaps steeper than the Cascades in Oregon. But the roads were lined with familiar big-leaf maples, Douglas fir, and cedar trees. Grasses, farms, and blackberries all gave me a feeling of being in my home countryside.

It wasn't until I left my car in a campground and walked down to the Skagit River that the strangeness of the place hit me. The colors of rock and water were as foreign to me as white sand beaches and tropical oceans. The rock is a light gray, sometimes pinkish, sometimes blueish, but never, never dark even when it's wet. Marble? Granite? I will have to ask. The effect of all that light rock is to send light through the moving water, so that even the slight glacial silt leaves it translucent and turquoise. I'm going to have lots of fun painting this water.

The light rain started back up. I drove to the visitors' center, moved into my residence, and set up indoors to start a painting of Goodell Creek, and that lovely turquoise water.

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