Big Bear Sunset - Watercolor Studies!

in #outdoors3 years ago

As always, this has been adapted from my original blog post here

Hey everyone!

As promised, I've been writing up a bunch of posts about my November painting adventures, and we're kicking off with the first one! A quick Sunday hike I did at Big Bear with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago.

Big Bear is another destination that, once I heard of, I wanted to go but of course put off for years. It’s the closest place for snow sports to LA, and during the summer there is allegedly some pretty dope trout fishing (which, at the risk of sounding like my father, I may have to check out now that I have my fly pole.)

I wanted to hike something easy, so the choice was between Pine Knot and the Alpine Pedal path. The latter seemed easier since it was a pavement, and since my friend was coming along I decided to choose the trail I’d feel least comfortable doing alone. So Pine Knot it was!

About a 2.5 hour drive later (with lots of winding mountain roads that was making me carsick… and I was driving!) we finally arrived and set off. The original plan was to finish the hike by sunset, but arriving closer to 2 pm… and with our early sunsets… and the fact that we saw a lot of people coming back but not as many people surpassing us… well, it didn’t bode well.

Nevertheless, we pushed on! And saw some very tall trees as you’ll see below! If you follow me on Instagram there’s a good chance you’ve seen these photos already, but now you can see them COMPLETELY UNEDITED and without the confines of the IG square/landscape dimensions (seriously can we please get better portrait mode options??)


My whole intention for a hike in this area at this time of year was to catch the fall foliage. I think we were getting the tail end of it, but it was still pretty and colorful, and gave a very different vibe than what we’re used to in the ever-green, palmy LA. And I’m serious, these trees were HUGE. And I finally got that “lol look at me im in a tree” photo.

After a small hiccup where we weren’t exactly sure which fork to take, we finally ended at Grand View, which as you will see below, is very aptly named!

By now the sun was beginning to set, so I needed to act fast for painting. The temperature was dropping about a degree a minute, too. I started with what I’d intended to be a more developed sketch of the actual viewing point, but with the sun not slowing down its descent, and with the sky doing a myriad of beautiful things, I called it early and moved on to just color studies (but of course still time for taping my edges)

See below some candids of yours truly at work dressed as a (cold) dumpling

Below is the final product. You can see the first sketch I did that I mentioned before, and the sharp decline in detail following it haha. The second study I did directly below it was of the beautiful gradient the sky had created during the sunset. Even in Joshua Tree, I’d seen this and I definitely wanted to record it (although it looks a bit washed out in photograph). I used wet on wet washes for this to get that smooth, blended look. The dark purple is supposed to be the mountains, but the paper was still wet when I put it on, so even though the general shape came in, it isn’t as crisp as I’d initially intended…but I actually kind of like it. The final result looks pretty abstract, but when I look at it, I still remember the inspiration. Plus it’s pretty lol.

The final study I did wasn’t as wet-on-wet heavy, and instead relied on a lot of intensity, since the contrast in the sky was so striking. There was some blending done, but I was struggling with not having a muddy sky with the orange and blue mixing. I still think it’s a bit messy, but again, it gets the point across for me. And if you put it at one end of the room and stand on the other side, it actually doesn’t look so bad! #impressionism

By the time I finished the last sketch, it was really cold and the sun was nearly gone. I quickly packed up and we bounded back down the hike at an extremely brisk pace best described as “holy shit we cold.” The paper was still wet as well, so I was carrying my sketch book and flapping it every so often, hoping for it to dry quickly.

About an hour later, with both phones on flashlight mode since it was very, very dark (again, very glad I was not alone for this), we finally made it back to the car and did about 5 minutes of stargazing before heading back down the mountain. By now the temperature was in the 30s, and had dropped so low the pressure gauge in my tires dinged at me. But as we got lower in elevation and higher in temperature, it got sorted out on its own.

So that was my trip to Big Bear! I’d love to visit again to do some sledding, and again during warmer months, and maybe do some camping and certainly some fishing and kayaking. There are also a ton more trails I want to explore, and honestly, 2.5 hours isn’t that far of a drive… I say this too after having done 16 one way for Oregon… but that will be in the next blog post!

Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to Big Bear? Or hiked at night? Let me know!


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Congratulations @corinneiskorean! This post was selected by the @steemitbloggers community as today's Rally Upvote Post :) It will also receive a complimentary upvote from @Appreciator throughout the course of the day!

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Thank you so much!! <3

So much great photgraphy, art and adventure in one post! I love how grand everything seems even through the images. I have started my little artist on creating pieces inspired from our camping trips and she is working on water colours.

So awesome thanks for tharing!



Never been to that side of the world and hiking is something I have been considering and almost went on a couple but chickened out.
Looking at your pictures, wow!!
I can imagine being in the midst Mother Nature's Magic.
Those trees are reallyyyyy tall.
Thank you so much for sharing these with us :D

Aww you should definitely try hiking! Rope someone in to go with you and pick something easy to start :) (and definitely don't go at night hahaha).

Yes the trees were so tall!! It'd been a while since I'd seen such big trees, it was really majestic and humbling. I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :D

I was just having a conversation on this very subject
maybe next year 😊

This post is sponsored by @SteemitBloggers in collaboration with @appreciator. Just keep up the good work.

This big bear blog in bear times GREAT
This could have in in photograpy and #treetuesday keep these coming love the outdoors

oh wow thank you! I really don't see myself a photographer, I just take pictures of things I like with my phone hahah I'm flattered! And ah, I forgot about tree tuesday! Next time I'll try to remember. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

you know the #sevendaysoutside challange is great to to enter in......

Looks to be a scenic hike that paid off in the end, got to do the painting before heading back again @corinneiskorean

Thanks for sharing your beautiful part of the world, nothing like capturing the outdoors #steemitbloggers

Some nice views there . I loved the sketches . Nice post #steemitbloggers

I have done both. I have gone several times to Big Bear and have hiked at night - not there - and with headlights and/or at full moon. :)

Sounds like you have a great time - and great studies!!

I have a headlight but we weren't planning on staying out that late. Next time I will bring it just in case, haha. We were pretty lucky in that the moon was close to full!


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Have a nice day and sincerely yours,

that looks amazing :D Both the hiking and the painting, I think you did a great job!

I'd love to do an overnight hike, where we sleep over. I've never done that before. Thanks for this lovely post


Cool! Subscribed to Instagram, in the hope of the appearance of these pictures in the story))

That is some really rugged terrain and so peaceful looking at the same time. Thanks for sharing it on #steemitbloggers. That in the tree shot is really great by the way.

Thank you @corinneiskorean for the contest entry! Be sure to drop your link into the comments of the contest post to receive another upvote and be eligible to win the 3SBI prize!

Firstly I love your easy chatty style and your photographs are engaging, a wealth of them too! Secondly i'm quite adventurous but you are WOW in pursuit of art..........I also record the places I go on paper and give them away, often as birthday cards. Your work is lovely. Wet on wet work is my passion too.
I have hiked all over South Africa and along the beach at night under full moon...............saw a trillion Ghost crabs.
All the best Corinneiskorean

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