Listen to the music of the waterfall! Take a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to the National Parks of Yellowstone and Glacier. Experience the cool, musical features of fantastic waterfalls. Waterfalls can be an exciting and admittedly cliche topic to paint. But I cannot resist capturing the movement of cool waters over ancient stones found at cliffsides and in the valleys of the landscape.
Here are my waterfall pastel paintings. I hope that they inspire you to head outdoors and seek these awesome natural wonders!
Hidden Lake Waterfalls can be found along the trail to Hidden Lake at Glacier National Park, along the Continental Divide. Step along billion year old rocks and lupine meadows before reaching Hidden Lake at the foot of Bearhat Mountain.
Travel 5,000 miles to the east of Glacier National Park, and you arrive at Killarney National Park in County Kerry, Ireland. Bold strokes of light pastel hues characterize this watery pastel titled "Rush Hour."
Back-tracking to Montana, feel the cool early morning vapor rising from Sacred Dancing Falls at Glacier National Park. That day, my wife Mary and I came across these rushing waters as the sun barely peaked above the horizon, around 6am. This limited palette pastel includes a deep blue acrylic under painting.
Head east and south from Glacier, to Yellowstone National Park, and view the immensity of Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. A popular tourist attraction, the falls dig a great canyon along the Yellowstone River. This is my second painting of this iconic scene and a popular one with my vacationing collectors.
"Rapid Transit" was inspired by a hike at North Cascades National Park near Seattle, Washington. You can watch me create this pastel painting in my YouTube video by clicking here. A second hike that weekend was cut short as we stumbled upon a Momma bear and her cub; we turned away out of precaution, but have wonderful memories of a beautiful vista and these raging waters!
"Paths of Least Resistance" is a bit of an optical illusion. This pastel was inspired by a TINY waterfall along the Alum Creek Trail Hike at Great Smoky National Park. The true size of the falls was perhaps 2 feet in length! I was particularly attracted by the green-blue waters and the golden, polished stones in the water.
Algonquin State Park is located in the Province of Ontario. The inspiration for this pastel was a photograph contributed by a fellow hiker from Canada! In the reference photo, the hiker captured his traveling mate sitting atop that large rock on the right, peering down at the maelstrom!
"Torrent" is my interpretation of Bond Falls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This view represents a small portion of these immense falls and popular tourist spot.
Not far from "Torrent," "Free-Fallin" was inspired by a hike at Bonanza Falls on the Iron River at the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You can see some of the ultramarine blue acrylic under painting peeking out beneath the layers of pastel.
Here's a more aerial view of Bonanza Falls. The water level of the river was rather low, allowing me to climb across the dry stones for close-ups of the water escapades.
"Melody of the Lake Fork" was inspired by a hike near Red Lodge, Montana. The reference photo was taken 27 years ago as my wife and I hiked along the river with our then two-year old daughter strapped in a harness on my back. This hike was perhaps the start of my hiking "career" and the launch of my fascination with the landscape and my eagerness to capture its beauty in pastel.
Go seek a waterfall on your next hike. "Adopt the pace of nature" - Ralph Waldo Emerson.