Major Disappointment

Coni Grant, Rick Frisbie and I painted right here last year during the Estes Park Plein Air. It’s  my favorite place to paint in Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve painted this little group of pines from nearly every angle and in every season. I call it “The Stand”.

Look closely. See the reddish colored trees near the right hand side of the photo? That’s Pine Beetle kill and it’s done in two or three of  my trees. I feel almost like I’ve lost family. Losing those trees is a major disappointment. And how do we expect the remaining trees to fare with a Pine Beetle Hotel right next door? It aint good and there’s no way I’ll live to see it again  the way it was.

this year

The rest of the forest is well on it’s way to ending up the same way. The trees are turning red for miles. I spent some time today driving through Endo Valley and Moraine Park. It’s the same thing all over.

miles of red

Still I managed a couple of paintings today. Way early this morning I was out in the park waiting for the sun. Once again I thought I had it figured out and the peak I wanted to paint was going to light up like the sun itself and I’d come on home with a dazzling piece of work.     Didn’t happen.

16x20 plein air oil

But the peak just west of there lit up beautifully so all I had to do was switch focus a bit and keep on keepin on. It was 44 degrees when I started and nearly 70 when I finished. I had dressed in layers though so as the morning went along I shed more and more clothes.

shortly after sunrise

20x10 plein air oil

This painting, 20×10, was some kind of little growie thing I found reaching for sunlight from deep  in a bunch of down timber. Maybe I was drawn to new life or something after seeing the forest in such shape. At any rate it seemed to asking for attention and I was more than willing to give it.

More soon,



6 Responses to “Major Disappointment”

  1. I love the little “growie” thing.
    I also love that you thought enough of it to paint it.

  2. Hi Eldon, I, too, love the little growie thing reaching to the light. The painting on the light on the mountain is stunning. Boy I sure do like your work, my friend.


  3. Hi Eldon,

    I’m so sad about the trees. Something like that has taken a couple of trees on our land in Nova Scotia. There’s a lot of research being done on natural predators of those destructive beetles. Here they go in for toxic sprays. But your photos make it clear why they do. Both paintings are great.
    Funny — a little growy thing. Where’s a good botanist when you need one eh?

    Take care,


  4. Vicki Barton Says:

    We have found the beetle kill rampant in our favorite haunts. It is frightening but the color of the trees and their reflections are often beautiful. We won’t make it up to Estes before the Quick Draw but hope the clouds are good to you. Denver has an eerie cloudless clear sky like a graded blue bowl this morning. Strange! I’m working on minis and my Taos demo pieces so we’ll be surprised by all your treasures. Great painting! Vicki

  5. I love the painting of the little growie thing Eldon! Your peak is beautiful too-

  6. Rick Frisbie Says:

    Hi Eldon, Sorry to hear about your – and with your guidance – our trees! It brought back great memories of our times last year. AND I have a painting to remember it all by. I’d like to see your quickdraw in person it looks interesting!

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