Portagee Joe Campground
Just west of Lone Pine off the Whitney Portal Road. A small creek, actually an irrigation ditch trickles down the middle of the sandy sites. Here I met Sue, newly launched on a slow camping loop through the western states, setting out in winter from Montana in a vintage trailer that had belonged to her parents. Mouldering quietly out in a back yard for many years until she began her solid and pretty restoration. She shared her trailer and I shared my paintings. The next morning she knocked on my door carrying a book of photos of her daughter with the first grandchild, a very sweet girl baby who had survived brain damage during childbirth. She lived for only six months, fragile and much loved. Sue asked me would I accept a commission to make a color painting of a favorite black and white photo of her daughter and the baby girl, and I gave it my best quick sketch in acrylic. She liked it a lot and paid me fifty dollars for a morning's work! I had hoped to visit more with Sue, but she had to cut her Eastern Sierra sojourn short and return to Montana to see her doctor. I pray she will be restored to good health and that I will see her again in January. If so I will post pics of her vintage trailer--it's a beauty.
And here are two photos from the area west of Lone Pine, Lone Pine Peak and a path through the big rocks in the Alabama Hills.
Independence Creek Campground
Hard freeze Dec 3-9 made Independence Creek ice up, blocking the waters which then flooded the north side of the campground and produced the ad hoc Independence Ice Rink. Every day Water and Power guys drive into the campground, circumambulate the ice flood, speak loudly and gesticulate, and then drive off. I hope they are not planning something drastic with a bulldozer. I have already had to move my campsite once due to having gone to sleep in an empty campground, but woken up surrounded by deer hunters next morning, their huge trucks, troop tents, toybox trailers, auxiliary ATVs, noisy gasoline generators, and finally, dead, skinned deer hanging from the trees. Mercury still plunging towards zero at night. I am grateful for a just-in-time early Christmas present from Kate: a new comforter, very poofy and warm!
Sheltered inside my Santa Fe Treehouse on Tires, I painted these two winter tree pix.
Owens River Willow Gnawed by Beavers.
Although one fisherman I talked to said it's not beavers, it's the range cows that chew willow wood to groom their teeth and to lick the aspirin compounds out of it. Looks like beaver action to me, but black cows and their calves do roam the bottom lands. Shortly after I took this picture last fall, the trunk cracked apart and fell into the river.
A Year Spent at Leisure in the Shelter of the Crazy Trees--wintertime
Without planning it, I've been producing a series of paintings that contain three cottonwood trunks and a white trailer very much like my own. Rather more pasted than parked into the scene like a settling dirigible. The Crazy Trees have become the guardians of a feeling of sanctuary, not because they are kindly (they are not, they are crotchety) but because nobody else will park near them, since old, overgrown, diseased and damaged cottonwoods tend to drop branches, or even split down the middle and fall over.
Well that's all the news that's fit to paint, Cheers from Inna keeping it warm on on 395.