Almost daily painter, traveler and art lover
It's all about art, what else is there?
@lisahutart on instagram

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Long Road Trip: Montana and Wyoming

We love Montana, even though it's raining. I'm way behind in keeping up with our travels, let's see if I can catchup without boring you to death.

Mama black bear in Yellowstone
zoomed in on this one to show you the claws!

The same day we saw the bear at Glacier NP (previous post) we spent the morning at Many Glacier and took a boat ride on Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. We did a short hike to the falls where I could sketch.


Sitting at the boat dock

Since it was raining in Glacier we headed south towards Missoula. We had some bad weather; lightning, rain and wind so traveling was slow. We camped on the Clark Fork River at Beavertail Hill State Park. It was a nice spot and we finally scored cherries at a stand along Flathead Lake. Fishing was a bust for Meriwether with the rain. We had an unplanned stop at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park where he got a mountain bike ride in. We camped south of Livingston, MT at a KOA. I was desperate to do laundry and we had a nice dinner in Livingston, at a real restaurant. Then we spent the next 3 days traveling in and around Yellowstone putting mileage in on the truck. The second bear sighting was yesterday and we got up at 4 am today to head to Lamar Valley to see wolves. We did see one but it was too far away for a good photo.

Looking down from the Calcite Springs Overlook
we watched a mama bear and cub below eating berries

So fun to watch her
The cub stayed mostly hidden under other bushes

Bison grunt a lot (digestive problems?), have a lot of nose snot
and I have a lot of bison pooping photos
... you don't want to see those

Saw hundreds of Bison, and cars ... trying to get around the bison
This particular backup was about an hour delay

Tomorrow we head towards the Tetons because we think we can squeeze in one more National Park.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Long Road Trip: Signs and The Down Side

I love driving through small towns and seeing old signs. Occasionally, it's a new sign made to look old but easy to tell the difference; the old ones are actually falling apart.

The Blue & White Motel in Kalispell, MT

Rainbow Bar - somewhere in Montana

On another note, several of my friends have expressed envy over my road trip. Below are a few highlights to make you appreciate your spacious home. Note: I am either freezing (like in Frozen), or burning up (Jack, Jack from the Incredibles) as illustrated below. Likely has nothing to do with camping but just thought I'd mention it.

- People are nice everywhere; except for the guy who flipped us off last week for driving too slow.

- A squirrel vomited on my picnic table, Berries-in-Goo, A la carte.

- I saw a mouse, that always ruins my day.

- Then I saw a dead bird. This was the first day I wanted to go home.

- You can't mind when leaves and pine needles keep falling in your food when cooking outdoors.

- Once, an ant crawled out from my salad, I flicked him away and kept eating. Really.

- I'm getting a little tired of dump stations - they are gross.

- I finally know the difference between potable and non-potable water.
  You don't want to mix those up.

- I Kayaked for a whole 10 minutes and have a blister on my thumb the size of a quarter. Weak.

- A bag of flour exploded in the camper.

- I baked chocolate chip cookies in the camper oven.
  It took 3 hours because I could only bake 4 cookies at a time.

- I just battled 2 wasps in the camper. Roadkill, don't even want to talk about it.

Overall a great trip, still have a couple weeks to go. You just can't let the little things get you down.

Long Road Trip: Barn, Barn, Barn, Barn ... Bear!

We have a game in the car kind of like duck, duck, goose. Ed drives, I have the camera, lens cap off, ready to go and if I'm not actively watching out the window (on the phone, fetching snacks, etc.) Ed yells Barn! If it's on my side, his hand and finger are fluttering dangerously close to my face. So as you can imagine, I have a lot of really bad photos but also reference shots for lots of barn paintings. And sometimes I miss them. Then we discuss if he yelled Barn! too late or if I'm too slow. We've been in the car a long time.

Only once has he said "Don't you have enough pictures of barns yet?".
I Love Barns

I will not win a National Geographic Award for this shot

So now about the bear. We are camping on the west side of Glacier NP and spent Saturday on the east side looking for bears. Finally, in the afternoon we got lucky. A flock of humans along the side of the road had already spotted her. Many people drove up, snapped a picture then on they went.

A couple rangers had to manage the people, as people are idiots when it comes to wildlife. Patience paid off for us. We stood in the drizzling rain and watched this beautiful black bear pop in and out of the bushes for over an hour, grazing huckleberries on the hillside. She zig zagged across the hill and eventually came closer and closer to the road. So fun watching her through binoculars and Meriwether's scope - the photos don't do it justice. She was getting very close to the road (and us), the rangers were thinking she wanted to cross the road and tried moving people back, some tween started screaming she was scared (in a fake loud dramatic fashion)  ... one photographer blatantly walked past where the ranger told us not to go, crossed the road and was inching up the hillside towards the bear, so the ranger had to chase him, then the crowd proceeds to walk where they told us not to ... sigh ... time for us to leave.

It was a great hour. Thanks, bear.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Long Road Trip: A surprising Twisp!

Today's Twist in Twisp. Say that 10 times. It all started with a sign in Winthrop, WA that said "RV Parking". So we parked, had lunch along the river and wandered up to town. It was a cute town and I found handmade wool rugs from a local artist (Katie Swanson) made from Pendleton wool selvages. My heart was beating a mile a minute. Hand woven wool rugs. Reasonable prices. I now own a new rug. She told us all about Twisp, another town down the road. In between there was a pretty campground right along the river so we stopped ... and stayed for 4 days.

Meriwether was in heaven, doing all the things we came for. Biking, fly fishing, SUP and Kayaking.
 He got a ride from a fellow camper that dropped him off a few miles up the road so he could float back to our camp spot. Camping along the Methow River was perfect.

He needed longer than the record breaking 15 minutes I spent out on the water with him. I got a blister on my thumb, so ya know ... back to painting I go. The next day I dropped him off 8 miles up the road on the SUP for a 3 hour adventure.

I painted, blogged and hung out by the river. Even had time to break out the acrylics that I brought and do a little experimental art.

WIP, inspired by the ferns and greenery of the Northwest
I started this one with stencils and will finish when I get home
Acrylic on canvas

There was a Brewery ... enough said

A view from across the river
pen and ink watercolor

Great camp and painting spot

We also drove up to Sunshine Mountain Lodge - I'm keeping a list of beautiful
lodges to visit one day and this spot makes the list

Long Road Trip: North Cascades National Park

Every National Park we have visited has unique features and all are stunning. 93% (or 99?) of North Cascades NP is wilderness. We camped here 2 nights, drove where we could and got some great photos. Now the challenge is painting that bright teal water.

Skagit River at Newhalem Campground
North Cascades National Park

The beautiful teal color of the water is from "rock flour"
fine grained rock from glacial erosion

Because the rock material is so fine it is suspended in meltwater making the water cloudy
also know as Glacial Milk - how do you paint that?

Washington Pass Overlook

Lisa Hut
@lishutart on instagram
"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." Rumi

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Long Road Trip: Lavender & Mount Rainier National Park

We toured several Lavender Farms around Sequim, WA. My favorite was the Purple Haze Lavender Farm. It's a Harvest Host site - we didn't have time to stay overnight but if you are camping with HH this place looked fantastic.

Lavender Fields
pastel on black paper

Then we stopped one night at the Paradise Wellness Farm south of Tacoma. Found it on (thanks Debby). It was an interesting spot with organic vegetable and flower gardens, mushrooms and hemp, beehives, farm dogs, 3 large yurts, a meditation pond and a pet cow named Bessy. There was lots for me to paint here, but a little too far from Rainier to stay longer.

Diane's Gladiolus with Rainier shining bright in the background

3 large yurts on the property for rent through Air BnB

Our spot for the night

Saturday morning in Rainier NP we found a walkup spot at Cougar Rock CG and stayed 2 nights. I met Debby to paint the next day and picked Ed (uh, Meriwether) up from a 44 mile bike ride across the park. It was so nice to see Debby - it's so much more fun to paint with a buddy and catchup on her travels.

Mt Rainier National Park

At the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center

I'm having a serious quiet moment at the top of this hike.
Then a squirrel put his little paws on my leg begging for food,
I jumped and likely made a screeching noise as he ran across my lap.
Curses to those people that feed squirrels in National Parks, really.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Long Road Trip: Olympic National Park & Victoria, BC

I've got to get caught up on this blog; I'm currently camping on day 21 and the scenery from 4 beautiful National Parks is blurring together. So Day 11, we camped in Willapa Bay. Loved the camp site, we could walk 200 yards behind us to a beach. We watched the tide and the sunset. I collected a few pieces of seaglass, shells and rocks. We saw many oyster shells and then did a little research and realized what a big industry it is here. Google taught me all about oyster harvesting. Ya know, if I didn't have Google, I'd probably travel with an encyclopedia. ha.

View from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park
plein air pastel

drove over lots of bridges

There is something so powerful about ocean waves
Learning to "be still" is a little easier here than say ... at Target

Lighthouses all around

Lisa gets to paint and Meriwether takes photos

Meriwether? Well, we are listening to "Undaunted Courage" about the Lewis & Clark expedition (I highly recommend it) and since my husband is an explorer at heart, reads maps for fun ... we shall now refer to him as Meriwether. You can too.

Off to Port Angeles, WA our staging area for fun around Olympic NP. So far we've camped in maybe 12 camp spots. Even though we set up pretty quickly; it's still a pain making sure everything in the camper is rigged so all our gear doesn't tumble around like it's in a life size rock polisher. I have a collection of screws that appear on the floor every few days. Occasionally one forgets to move a box of crackers or lock a drawer then it's a fun surprise to open the camper door and see what was let loose. Thank goodness we haven't spilled the Oreos yet.

So, 4 nights near Port Angeles allowed Meriwether to do a couple of bike rides, a short hike in the park, driving around taking pictures, painting, dinner at a brewery, laundry, grocery shopping and a ferry ride over to Victoria, BC. I really wanted to visit Butchart Gardens, but we only had one day in Canada.

Loved the little water taxis - they looked like bumper cars
as they putted in and out through the inner harbour.

Victoria is known as the Flower City and very well deserved

The gardens at the Empress hotel were amazing, and the best part was their beehive with a surrounding flower garden. Had lunch on the veranda with bread and honey of course. It's wonderful that so many places are intentionally helping our honeybees thrive and survive. We also stumbled upon a french patisserie called La Roux in Chinatown ... honestly ... it was fantastic. We found Victoria charming.
Like every single spot we've been in the past few weeks, we wish we had more time and plan to come back again one day.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Long Road Trip: Week 2 - Camping with Horses

The next few days we drove up 101 along the coast of Oregon and Washington. We've had perfect weather, chilly at night and 70 during the day. We are trying to find camping as we go, fun for Ed but nerve wracking for me.

I'm using a variety of apps; national and state parks, allstays, hipcamp, compendium, harvest host, and google maps to find spots and there was nothing available. Tricky with slow and intermittent cell service too.

So, in the afternoon we figured we'd start at Horsfall campground near North Bend, OR and work our way up the coast. A helpful ranger got us a spot right away at Wild Mare campground - told us it would fit the trailer just fine since it was meant for campers with horses. Sometimes winging it works.

Often, the prettiest flowers are near the dump station
Poppies - pastel

Camping neighbors from Idaho that like riding on sand dunes

Found a Brewery for dinner in Coos Bay - keeping everybody happy

Most of my sketches on the beach now have natural sand in them

Such a pretty drive but so many places we didn't get to pull over,
because if you don't see a large area to turn the trailer around ...  you need to roll on by

Farther up the coast we headed to Jessie M. Honeyman State Park. I lucked out and reserved the only spot available online, for one night. We wished we could have stayed longer, it was fun hiking up sand dunes right behind our camper. I tried sketching but the wind pelted me with sand (and my art, paints, etc.) so I gave up and headed back to the camper.

We did stop at a couple of lighthouses, and saw some stunning views - but we missed a lot of them for lack of seeing a space to pull the camper in and turn it around.

Then we camped at our 2nd harvest host, the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. This place was crowded with a dozen campers allowed to camp in a field next to the store. Hey, it's free. The place was crowded and an ok spot to stop for the night; but I'm appreciating gravel/concrete pads when you are trying to get the camper level. In a field, it's not always ideal. Luckily, no rain so didn't wake up sunk in the grass.

Blue Heron French Cheese Co. - who doesn't like cheese?

Some interesting facts about Whales we learned at a lighthouse stop

Thanks for reading! Lisa

Monday, July 29, 2019

Long Road Trip: Week 1 part B

Day 3 and 4: Drive to Castle Rock State Park in Idaho. Google maps gave me an alternate route, only an extra 10 minutes about an hour away from our camp spot. Sometimes Google lies. What google didn't tell us; it was a washboard dirt road for 27+ miles so we rattled a few screws loose in the camper. Literally.

Beavertail Cactus were in bloom in the park
Acrylic 12x12

I have many sketches of barns adding up because I feel the need to draw
every single barn we drive by. Barn obsessed.

Cleaned my pastels and right before we left realized I left the lids in Denver. Not something you can just run out and pick up - foam padded lids to my plein air box. So, I've got the pastels in other boxes but still needed to bring this to attach to my easel and tripod. Not efficient.

This old barn behind Tracy's General Store in Almo, ID

Then we were off to Boise, ID. Our highlight was seeing Shoshone falls near Twin Falls. Every single thing we drive by has a unique beauty to it, it's so fun seeing new things and going to places we've never been before. Very grateful.

Shoshone Falls, ID

Day 6: Drove through Bend, OR and would love to come back and spend more time here. A pretty park in downtown, a real art gallery, cute downtown area with shops, etc. After a brewery and dinner stop, headed south to be as close to Crater Lake as possible. I have 20 or so paintings in my head just hoping for time to get them on paper one day.

Day 7: Spent the day at Crater Lake National Park. Ed did a 33 mile ride around the rim and I got to paint. We did a short 1.6 mile hike up to Watchman Lookout for even more incredible photos.
Like most spots, it was empty and beautiful at 8 am but by noon packed with tourists, kids, buses and way too many people.

Paint spot along Crater Lake rim near the Lodge

Then I sketched the Lodge

Crater Lake National Park
Pastel 9x12

Most of my art is posted on Instagram here. Thanks for reading!

@lishutart on instagram
"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." Rumi