Split-screen image of Tian Du Feng (Celestial Capitol Mountain) and my plein-air Inktense painting. The painting is on the right, in case you were wondering….which you weren’t.
Literally. It rocks! We recently got to spend 2+ days in one of China’s most famous national parks, and we made the most of it, hiking about 36 miles of steep trails, many of which included stone steps carved right into the granite.
We hiked through the famed mists that swirl around the stone crags and jagged summits. Seeing the gnarled pines clinging to cracks in these sheer, jaw-dropping cliffs, I kept saying: “so THIS is why the Chinese paint like they do!”
We had everything from rain to clear blue skies during our visit. At times, the view was completely lost in the fog, but every tantalizing glimpse took my breath away and made my heart pound. I suppose the breathlessness and heart pounding could be attributed to the endless climbing and descending, but either way, it was amazing.
After two days of hiking in the park, I got a chance to paint plein-air with the latest iteration of my #Derwent #Inktense setup. Tian Du Feng (“Celestial Capitol Mountain”) is the second-highest in the park. According to the staff person who chatted with me as I painted, it’s also the most dangerous. No surprise there: the trail starts with a 75º climb up more of those carved-in-stone steps and doesn’t let up much until the summit ridge. The drop-off at the top is precipitous. Then you still have to get down.
We’d done all that already, so I sat with my back against another pinnacle of that amazing granite, enjoying being happy and tired as I painted a small bit of the mountain.
Click here to see the full scan of the painting.
Quick update: the outcrop is called “Squirrel Leaps Over the Celestial Capitol.” (Thanks to my wife, who is a native Mandarin speaker, here it is in Chinese: 中國安徽省黃山國家景區 – 天都峰(松鼠跳天都)
Lotus Peak (the highest point in the park) from partway up Tian Du Feng (the second highest).