New Zealand trip
I was back in New Zealand's Southern Alps in October, climbing sketching and photographing some beautiful mountains. My expedition started badly with my crucial dehydrated Summit To Eat meal packs containing chicken taken off me at customs. Things improved quickly though with some superb high camps in glorious conditions, allowing me to fully appreciate this wonderful mountainous country, and giving me inspiration and ideas for many new paintings.
My sketches done at the time are quick ideas, getting composition right and playing with subject matter. I see other artist's sketchbooks and they're often beautiful things in their own right. Mine tend to be a mixture of quick scribbles, notes, squashed sandflies, spilt coffee and the occasional nice drawing.
My first painting will probably be an impression of the Haast Pass, mixed with elements of the West Coast - see bottom right sketch. A river valley, bright light coming through the gap beyond, seemingly vertical forested walls, dark mist layers and way up high, impossibly steep snowy peaks just appearing. There will be waterfalls too.
Before that painting begins, I am continuing with my large painting of Ben Macdui and Loch Etchachan. I'll be finishing and unveiling that in the New Year.
On my return to Scotland, I decided to write to Summit To Eat, the British maker of excellent dehydrated meals that I discovered a few years ago, and which I now use exclusively for all my overnight mountain trips. This was partly to say how tasty and well-made their meals are when compared with a similar New Zealand brand that I had to purchase, and partly to explain my losing all my chicken-based meals at customs. They took pity and are sending me a few of the meals I lost! Thank you Summit To Eat!
I must also give a shout out to PHD - PH Designs - who supplied my jackets and sleeping bag that I use on all my big cold mountain adventures. If anyone's interested in the kit I use, I'm always happy to discuss mountaineering equipment - drop me a message.
Camp overlooking the Matukituki valley and Mt Rob Roy
View from the tent on Leary Peak
First light on Sir William Peak