In early October, 2009 Lee and two other painting buddies took their second annual plein-air (outdoors) painting trip to the Potomac Highlands in north-east West Virginia. We all used the water-soluble oils. One of the four days was spent at Dolly Sods, a 5,000 foot high wilderness area where the fall colors can be magnificent.

See paintings from this outing in the OILS gallery # 09.022, 09.023 and 09.024.

In Dec. 2008 we traveled to Mexico for two weeks to see the famous Copper Canyon (bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon) and other attractions in the states of Chihuahua and Sonora.  There was very limited time for doing any artwork, but the photo below shows Lee doing a small watercolor sketch at Divisidero for some Tarahumara children who live in the canyon.

In April-May  2009 we spent three weeks touring eleven national and state parks in southwest Utah. This was a repeat of a similar trip in 2004.  Every few years we just must get our red rock/canyon country fix. Our home state of West Virginia is beautiful but it’s all green. Some small pen and watercolor wash sketches were done for the trip journal.

In July 2009 we traveled to Boone N.C  for some cultural events and  attractions such as Blowing Rock , Bass Lake and Grandfather Mountain. They have wonderful park hiking trails there. Also, Boone is the Corporate HQ of Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, which I visited.

California 2008

In September 2008 Lee and his wife flew to eastern California and rented a car to spend a week each touring Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe area, and Kings Canyon/Seqoia National parks.  Nine watercolors were done on location in these places and nearby venues in Squaw Valley, and along the Merced, Truckee and Kaweah Rivers.  These paintings are shown in the Watercolors gallery of this website.


Europe 2006

In September 2006 we took an 18 day "ALPINE SAMPLER" excursion with a tour company of 30 people to Europe.  After an overnight flight from Philly to Milan we tour-bussed to Stresa Italy, a small city on Lake Maggiori near Lake Como (noted  for the villas of the rich and famous).  Six days were spent there touring Stresa with a side trip to Lake Como/Belagio.  In Stresa we had dinner at the beautiful home of a young  Italian family; the husband is an avid and creative painter.

Our next venue was Interlaken Switzerland, famous for the Jungfrau mountain. Five days were spent in that area, with side trips to Bern and Gstad where we toured a cheese making facility.  Switzerland is a fiercely independent country that thrives on neatness and exactitude.

Our final venue was Seefeld Austria, near more familiar Innsbruck of winter olympic fame.  Seefeld is located in a broad valley surrounded by high and steep alpine mountains (see image on the homepage).  We spent a week there with side trips to Mittenwald (violin making) and Saltzburg, Mozart’s birth home and location of famed “Sound of Music”.

All three of these venues were artworthy. Our tour setup gave us a lot of free time…many whole days to forego the optional side tours and just explore on our own.  Patricia and I love to hike and just walk, and we did lots of that.  It was also productive from an art standpoint.  I used my mini studio-in-a-bag to do many pen and ink plus watercolor sketches, several of which were purchased by fellow travelers, and which also led to post trip commissions for studio paintings. 

California and Nevada - March 2006

In mid-March 2006, wife Patricia and I flew to Las Vegas, rented a compact car, ignored the Vegas strip and headed for the "bush" to paint on-location and hike.  After provisioning at the first Wal-Mart we came to we drove three hours north to the tiny town of Beatty, NV.  This is in the middle of nowhere and not far from the notorious Area 51, where modern legend has it that an alien flying saucer crashed and the bodies were recovered.  Also, this is near the testing site for A-bombs.

Using a Beatty motel (elevation 4400 feet) as a base for 6 days we drove 30 miles daily through the pass and descended into Death Valley, CA....elevation, zilch...(even at some places, negative zilch!).  We were surprised at how beautiful and colorful DV is.  Death Valley is a National Park, 130 miles long north to south, the biggest in the lower 48 states. The flat valley is only a few miles wide and is bounded by mountains ranging from 4,000 feet to 12,000 feet on the east and west. "Wasn't it awfully hot and dry?".... everyone asks. Well, we got rained on and snowed on (just morning flurries...but it was snow), and the mountains were snow covered above 6,000 feet the whole week we were there.  Morning temps were mid-40's, but 70's by noon and we were peeling off clothing to summer stuff.  The sun is intense, and the two major problems to deal with regarding plein air (on-location) painting were getting out of the sun (no trees) and the constant wind.  This photo shows one of the several ways we dealt with these hurdles...using the hatch back of the Chevy Aveo as a sun and wind shield.

   I was able to get four paintings done, and we had some really nice hikes back in the spectacular canyons through the west-side mountains. There are also enough tourist attractions to keep one busy for several days....a volcano crater, some serious dunes, two oasis hotel/motel/camping areas, a golf course, various roadside exhibits about the mining done there in the past, and Scotty's Castle...a real honest to goodness castle with guided tours.  If you ever want to go, do it in March while it's cool there.  Just two weeks after we got back from our trip, DV had three consecutive days of 100+ temperatures!!

   After DV we drove back south to Lake Mead...the largest man made (Hoover Dam) lake in continental USA. This is a tourist-friendly facility - lots of picnic shelters with great views of the lake which is 30% low due to drought.  Two paintings were done here, one of which sold upon completion to a couple from London, England. 

    We also spent two days at Red Rock Canyon, a National Park 20 miles west of Las Vegas.  This is a must see for anyone who likes spectacular mountain/canyon scenery with lots of color.  Good hiking trails...but don't mess with the feral burrows if you come across them.  They are cranky and might charge you if you get inside their public distance. I got one watercolor done here and wish I would have had more time to do more.  Paintings are still available for purchase on this website.


 Other Past Trips 

Mexico, Potomac Highlands, Family Get Together, etc. - Summer 2005

Portugal & Spain - Spring 2003

Canada - 2003

Iceland - 2003

Spain - 2002

Sedona, Arizona - October 2002