Art Adventures

Posts tagged ‘lake’

My backpack trip into the Enchantment Mountains proved worthy of the incredible challenge I faced just to arrive. It was extremely rugged country. Mountain goats, waterfalls, lakes, icebergs, glaciers, and sheer cliffs astounded us with views at every turn.

I am no stranger to backpacking. I backpacked as a kid in the Colorado Rockies with my family. Later, I explored the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our kiddos, once they were old enough to hike (or be carried, as the case often was…ha…). Camping out in the wilderness rejuvenates my soul. I usually feel as though I have been holding my breath and when I get into the mountains, I finally exhale, and breathe deep for the first time in a long while. Ahhhhh……there it is. I’m whole again.

When my husband suggested we hike into the Stuart Range in Washington for a family trip, however, I was a little reserved. What? No, no, not for the kids, but for me! Our boys, ages ranging from 14-20 at the time, were completely able to carry their own food, clothes, and selves deep into the great outdoors. No problem. In fact, strong, young boys with tons of muscle and energy? Hiking was a breeze for them. All I had to do was organize the food and get myself and my own backpack to the destination. Easy enough, right?

Problem. Errrr, yes. Twelve miles in and 7,000 feet elevation gain of steep, rugged wilderness awaited. I was nervous about the sheer amount of physical energy needed to arrive at the campsite. Nevertheless, excited to go, I envisioned the beauty and couldn’t wait to begin. We made plans, reserved our permit, packed, organized, and headed up. Oh, and I DID pack my watercolor journal. Extra weight, sure, but I could handle it.


Every ounce practically killed me by the end. In fact? Just the weight of my own body proved almost too difficult to bear.

Difficult. But worth every step. It was so beautiful, so challenging, so scary, and so amazing, and I’ll probably never see it again.

Here we are, in all our pre-hike glory.

Here we are, in all our pre-hike glory.

The hike started out extremely steep, rising up out of the valley just outside of Leavenworth, Washington.

Me, with my three boys and friends, on our way up to Snow Lake

Me, with our three boys and friends, on our way up to Snow Lake. Hubby took the pic. It was a little steamy, as you can tell by the boy’s hair.

Our goal for the first night was to hike in and camp at Snow Lake, a 6 mile trek.The hike in was gorgeous, steep, but not terribly difficult.

Snow Lake. View from our camp, first night.

Snow Lake. View from our camp, first night. Mt. McClellen in the background.

No worries, I thought! I can handle this! The next day we headed out for the upper lakes.

By the second mile on day two, my knee was giving me a bit of grief from the steep climb the day before. THIS day, the climb was even steeper, working our way up boulder fields,

Boulder fields

Boulder fields above Snow and Nada Lakes.

over tumbling waterfalls,

Hubby and I, posing for an "excuse pic" i.e. RESTING!

Hubby and I, posing for a pic (i.e. RESTING).


across a dam, with floating trees on one side and a waterfall on the other (we had to cross the 12″ concrete dam while water rushed over the top…yikes!!),

This was scary for me. Death by drowning on one side, death by OUCH on the other! CONCENTRATE, Sarah! The dam was slippery!

This was scary for me. Death by drowning on one side, death by OUCH on the other! CONCENTRATE, Sarah! The dam was slippery!

and over a rounded, dead-drop boulder with rebar as footholds so that hikers would (hopefully) not plunge to their death. I have no photo of that, sketchy enough that my legs quivered and I was SO NOT taking my camera out. In fact, I may have cried. That’s just a rumor, mind you.

It was hot, gorgeous, and tiring.

Some of us rested in the shade. Kid 3 tired out from helping me up the boulders.

Some of us rested in the shade. Kid 3 tired out from helping me up the boulders.

So, yeah, gorgeous, but (ouch)knee, fear of heights, and water/drowning issues came to the front of my anxiety on that day. I worked it all through, though. and was rewarded with the most amazing high-alpine location I’d ever been.

Once we arrived at Vivian Lake, we re-grouped with a water filter re-fill, lunch, and a much-needed rest.

Son 1, refilling his water with a water filter system.

Son 1, refilling his water with a water filter system.

We rested among the no-fear mountain goats and spent the next day exploring the area before heading down the following day.

We hiked the entire 12 miles out in one day. By the time I reached the truck, I could barely place one foot in front of another. My legs were jellyfish, seemingly only marginally attached to my body with painful connections called joints. My back, shoulders and neck were stiff and my feet? Ugh. Too much. Only the memories of my family in one of the most gorgeous places I’ve been, and the photos I took, kept me going through some painful muscle aches for the rest of the week. Oh, and quite a substantial amount of Advil (and possibly wine…another rumor).

This past weekend, paying homage to this amazing hike, I worked on a landscape of one of the waterfalls we found at the lakes. I wanted to capture the raw beauty of this location, the way nature molds the landscape, the resistance and strength of the alpine trees, and the simple glory of water in erosive action. I’m bringing this to you, in the hopes that you can experience a part of The Enchantments, without the pain of the hike!

Enchanted, 12x32, original watercolor on textured Plexiglas

Enchanted, 12×32, original watercolor on textured Plexiglas

“Enchanted” was created for a group show at Tumalo Art Company, and is hanging at the gallery during the month of March. It’s delightful to see in person, with collaged texture and watercolor crayons capturing the rugged feel of the cliff bands surrounding Vivian Lake.

Enjoy the new work, and find it and other paintings of mine at Tumalo Art Company, and Hood Avenue Art.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and events! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that we can meet at showings and to receive notifications about classes. I will be planning a workshop painting class in the fall of 2017. I will post more when I know the dates. Every one of my paintings is available as a print, and I sell signed greeting cards of all my images


As part of my recent relationship series, the new painting, “Fishing Bug”, takes a closer look at the bond between fathers and kids.

Raised on a farm in Colorado, my sister and I were not afraid to get outside and get dirty. We were outside ALL the time, it seemed. Our dad was a big part of this picture, as he has always loved working on the fields or hiking the hills. He taught us how to appreciate nature through camping, backpacking, hiking, and picnics. Every weekend during the summer, I would ask, “Can we go camping this weekend, Dad?” or, perhaps more accurately, “Daddy, can we PLLLEEEAAASSSEE go camping?”, usually while sitting on his lap, looking as sweet as I possibly could. I would pull out all the stops to get him to say yes, it was my favorite family activity. Dad always tried to make it happen, if possible. We spent days lounging at the campsite, cooking s’mores, and going for critter walks. Once in a while, we would get lucky and spot a weasel, pika, muskrat, beaver, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, or even a bear. Dad loved to sit and admire wild animals in their environment, and would involve us in his quiet observations. He gifted us with the love of nature.

I have been fortunate to have the most wonderful fathers in my life: My dad, my husband, and my father-in-law. All are kind, strong, and loving, with a bonus of living life to the fullest and passing those gifts on to their children. In the joyful “Fishing Bug”, I work to express those ideas on canvas.

Fishing Bug, 12x20 original watercolor and collage on Plexiglas

Fishing Bug, 12×20 original watercolor and collage on Plexiglas

It’s the moment of excitement when everyone in the boat realizes that, “Fish on!”, a fish has caught the lure and the fisherman is reeling to bring him in. Half-turned to us, a girl in her red hat stands up, her own fishing pole ignored and off to the side, as she giggles and shouts in happy jubilation that her sibling is wrestling in a wild beast. Dad calmly teaches the youngest child exactly what to do and how to do it. A bent rod next to a net gives us an anticipation of dinner by the young hunter. Both kids are hooked. They have caught the fishing bug.

Notice string threading throughout the painting. This string signifies unity and connection between the father and his kids, and a passing on of tradition, as well as the movement of fishing line through water and air. Grids of texture reproduce net patterns, symbolizing the capture of both kid’s attention and their new love of the sport. The boat is old, not in the best shape, but no one cares. It’s all about fun and experience and time together; not material wealth or possessions. Small squares of red color from the girl’s shorts transfer her energy of the moment into the air. Her red hat tells us she lives life to the fullest, just like her dad. A dark treeline in the background give us a sense of the place, and an area to highlight the energy around her hair and further enhance this exciting moment. Sharing white of a sundrenched shirt and hat, the father and young child illustrate closeness while both of their hands are on the rod and their focus is on the goal of nabbing a fish. A number 9 smudged on the boat side tells us how many fish the crew will catch that day.

“Fishing Bug” symbolizes tradition, fun, excitement, and a sharing of family values that fathers pass on to their children. Did you have special traditions your father passed on to you? Does this painting remind you of those traditions? Message me your thoughts below. I’d love to hear about them.

If you are in Central Oregon in August, make sure to go check out “Fishing Bug” at Tumalo Art Company, as this painting should be seen up close and personal.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow this blog to be informed of amazing new paintings and deals! Contact me to receive my newsletter so that you see me at showings and receive notifications about SB Hansen Watercolor & Wine Painting Classes. Every one of my paintings is available as a print, and I sell signed greeting cards of all my images.



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