by Jan Cook Mack
When I first came to Wenatchee in 1986, I had been painting rural landscapes in White Creek New York where I had lived. There were many farms and rolling hills of woodlots and fields of corn which I liked to paint. I could pull off the road, set up my easel, and paint the view. When I moved to Wenatchee, I was asked by an artist Rod Weagant if I painted on site. I responded by describing how I painted from the side of the road. Rod said “well that’s just roadkill! I will take you into the wilderness where you can really paint on site.”
Rod described how I would need a back pack I could put a palette into, (the kind you can seal like Tupperware) a canvas, light easel, brushes and paints. He said “meet me at the trail head to Stuart Lake at 5:30 am.” I said, “It’s dark.” He pointed out, “you want to arrive at the lake when the sun comes up.”
It’s a three hour hike to the lake and we arrived just as the sun was breaking over the horizon. It was a beautiful alpine wilderness setting. We painted until 3:00 p.m. and then headed down to get back to the car before dusk.
I have painted with several artists who painted on site. Together we would paint in the Palisades, Dry Falls, Chelan River and locations on the Columbia.
My favorite place to paint is Lake Colchuck because the color of the water was remarkably blue turquoise, and the peaks are immense. After a while I learned to take fewer paint tubes, a lighter weight easel and a larger canvas.
The hike into Lake Colchuck is exhilarating and takes about three hours. I always love whatever I have painted there. I also love paintings I have made at Spider Meadows, Lake Valhalla and Stuart Lake.
A note from the editor: We asked Jan what tip she has for painters in our region. Her response “there are many beautiful scenes to paint of orchards in Dryden and Wenatchee. Paint them now before they disappear.”
For more information on Jan along with a larger collection of her art pieces visit her website here.