a few sketches from my Cordillera Huayhuash sketchbook, 2001


From a Traveler's Sketchbook:
Peru's Cordillera Huayhuash

April 2002
Commonwealth Club of California, San Francisco

In August 2001, my wife and I trekked through the Peruvian mountain range of the Cordillera Huayhuash. This compact range has some of the tallest peaks in the Peruvian Andes (over 19,000 feet) and some of the most exhilarating vistas imaginable. For fifteen days we hiked all day - each morning climbing passes up to 16,000 feet and descending to camp on the banks of glacial lakes or rivers.

These paintings are the product of my second trek. On the first, I consumed the incredible landscape step by step. By sketching, I recorded the salient points - what typified the place for me - and created personal souvenirs. I noted what the place looked like.

My second trek was completely in my memory. Back home, I poured over my original sketches. Translating into paintings the marks and notes I made brought me as close as possible to how the scenes felt to me. Although I adhered closely to the source sketches, my criterion for success was not mere topographical accuracy. These paintings show how I felt about each place.

These paintings are based solely on my on-the-spot sketches and my memory. Taking a cue from my sketchbook, I decided to use a panoramic format to intimate the expanse of the place and to make it possible to stay relatively true to the observed proportions of the sketches. Painting smaller versions of the final work allowed me to review the sketches carefully and experiment with color, deleting and simplifying elements until these smaller introductory paintings felt right. Then I started to adjust those decisions to the larger scale of the final artwork., all the while following the lead of my original sketches




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