In pursuit of beauty, Bonnie and I often trek for miles to find something worthy of painting. In my artistic endeavors, I want to bring forth the very best in design and composition, as well as dynamic and believable color and detail. There are so many factors that must come together to create a pleasing and inspiring scene. It is rare to find “IT” in real life.
Last fall, while in Colorado I heard about a waterfall on Cascade Creek up a few miles in a large valley below Engineer Peak north of Durango. We set off one afternoon to find it and walked and walked and walked. The end of the trail was rather disappointing. After a dry summer, the cascade was just a trickle, and I didn’t get any photos worth painting.
Sometimes our efforts are disappointing, but the journey along the way is valuable. This painting, “Mountain Cascades” is a testament to this truth. I never did see anything so amazing it would become my next great piece, but along the trail, I found a moss-covered area in the woods, some beautiful logs, inviting turns in the trail, inspiring light and other elements that were interesting. I, also, had a soft hand to hold on occasion as we traversed the rugged terrain. On the drive back to our cabin, a waterfall just off the road caught my attention, and I pulled over to explore it. It became the subject of this piece, which I enhanced with many other images from the 5-hour hike. I am reminded of this when I’m working side by side with my boys, building something on the farm, or putting up some fence. The beauty isn’t just in the finished product, but the journey along the way, the people we walk beside, and the strength and skill we gain in the process. Step back from all that and you will see a life that is good – with purpose and design in it all – just like in one of my favorite of all time paintings – Mountain Cascade.
~ Mark Keathley
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