Drawing as fast as possible on the top of a mountain is like diving into a cold lake- all my senses are wide open with the adrenaline. In my rush to draw I find myself out of breath. Even in August, my ink-splashed hands are numb from the chilly wind. My challenge is to see and record as much as possible of the huge relief below me on a long roll of paper which the wind yanks around like a rag before I have to retreat due to the cold drizzle. The urgency of the drawing provides no time for reflection or a carefully engineering an image, only the immediate recording of heavy clouds, the angle of a ridgeline, and the dark shadows of patches of forest.
I am a witness to this moment and to this place, not just to record but to see its majesty. I find rocks or logs to hold down my paper, then beginning on one side, I can roll it out, weighing it down as I go. Thinking through the scale and composition I pick a place to start and from there I follow the lines and angles to the bottom of the gorge and the snowy peaks high in the distance. I can barely reach to make the marks showing the cliffs at the top of the sheet. Crouching to swipe a mark for the curve of the river at the bottom, then kneeling in the heather and blueberries to lay in an area of dark forest. My body learns the immensity and shapes as I bend, focus then lunge here and there to record a shadow or cloud.