Smokey Mountain Vacay Mixed With a Bit o Plein-air

beverly gurganus Maggie Valley North Carolina oil paint Plein Air Smokey Mountains summer vacation Waynesville

What's better than a trip to the Smokey Mountains?  A Smokey Mountain vacation mixed with some plein-air painting!!!

Our family is secretly mountain people, and the Smokey Mts. is one of favorite places to visit.  I'm not exaggerating when I say it's like a second home to us. There is something about those beautiful blue hazy mountains that calls to us.  Its a call that speaks deep into our hearts and we have to answer.

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Lake Junaluska in Waynesville, NC

My husband and his family took me on my first trip to the Smokies the summer after we were married, and we have since continued the tradition of visiting every summer.  

Lake Junaluska is a must see when in Waynesville.  It is about a 2 mile hike around the lake, and it is a slow walk because you will find yourself in awe of the amazing views. Our walk was especially slow cause I took so many reference photos for future paintings (sorry family for the extra time of sweating and waiting).  Not only are the views great, but they have swimming, paddle board, a cute little café, and more.

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Lake Junaluska Waynesville, NC

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Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Then there is shopping!  Who doesn't like a little vintage-y antique-y shopping in quaint small town shops?  Maggie Valley has many antique and gift shops all up and down the valley, and Downtown Waynesville looks like something from a Charles Dickens scene.  The stores have all that old character that I just love along with specialty shops including... ART GALLERIES!

Speaking of art, lets get to the real purpose of this post.  Plein-air painting is something I wanted to do more of this summer, and I wasn't going to let this trip keep me from it.  Seriously, the perfect place for plein-air, right?  Unfortunately, all of my painting took place from the balcony of our hotel...thank goodness for my camera!

waynesville north carolina  smoke mountains plein-air

plein air painting smokie mountains beverly gurganus

8x10 oil on canvas board

Two days out of our 5 day trip my husband gave me some alone time at the hotel to do a lil painting, and this was my first.  I loved how the clouds mingled with the tops of the mountains so I knew I needed to work quickly before the clouds evaporated. I was right...the clouds were gone by the time I finished.  As you can tell from the first photo, this is the view looking straight out from our balcony, but what you don't see is that the cleared area on the mountain is actually a cemetery. 

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8x10 oil on canvas board

 My second painting was the view to the left of our balcony...right past the hotel's swimming pool. Which worked out great as I could watch my hubby and daughter enjoying the pool.  Believe me or not, this was our first sunny day while in the mountains, but unfortunately this view showed little evidence of the sun due to the amount of clouds.  Trust me though...the sun did come out.

I'm so thankful I committed to taking time to paint while on vacay even if the paintings are very raw.  Raw is perfectly ok.  I tend to let the fear of not producing a well completed painting in a short amount of time keep me from painting in the field, but not anymore (or at least I try).  Not all your paintings will be successful, but I promise you that all your paintings will teach you a little more every time you put the brush to the canvas.  Don't let fear stop you...get out there and just do it!

 


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