Painting directly in the mountains is a completely different experience than sitting at home or in a studio and having a photo or your own sketches as a reference. In the mountains, not only the weather comes into play, but also the light and, above all, the awareness that one is right here – the atmosphere.
Because I usually hike for several weeks in mountains with a big backpack, you can’t take everything with you – minimalism teaches you to use new combinations and focus on the essentials. I don’t always finish the whole painting in one go, so I have to quickly note significant elements, interesting details, mix the right colors and keep the fleeting light in my head a little longer.
I even repainted the picture several times, because the light changed into even more impressive colors. Sometimes you can see both noon and evening in one picture… And that’s the magic.
Expedice Patagonie (2019/20) – 3 months in Chillena and Argentinian Andes
Sierra Nevada JMT (2022) – 350 km long trail through High Sierra in California
Yosemity (2022) – two weeks of perfect wandering through Yosemitte
Expedice Kanada/Aljaška (2022) – almost a year in the far north (Alaska, Canada)
Slovinsko (2021) – Slovenian Alps
Crater Lake (2022) – winter snowshoeing around Crater lake (OR)
Beautiful mountains, breathtaking sunsets, inspiring solitude, but also cold, rain, snow and wind. Painting in the open air brought a piece of the harsh wilderness to the paintings – like sand mixed with paint and water from glaciers, which I diluted with watercolor.
In harsh conditions I often painted in thick gloves or from the relative safety of a tent.
I stored the entire set of paintings in the back of my backpack, where they survived the journey back to the Czech Republic unscathed.
Every pass, mountain and valley is here for a picture. The clear lakes invite you to relax, and the inspiring environment is reflected in songs and paintings.
JMT = John Muir Trail is a path leading through the pure alpine landscape and passing through some 4000m high passes. Compared to Alaska, there is a well-marked and well-trodden trail here, there are also no grizzly bears (only black bears) and, above all, it does not rain that much, which is very suitable for watercolor painting. Now all you have to do is have fast feet so that there is still time to paint after hiking.
It was a month of hiking in the mountains from the highest mountain in the continental USA (Mt. Whithey) to one of the most beautiful valleys in the world – Yosemite. The simple rhythm of ordinary life: walking, sleeping in a tent, drinking water from streams, walking, painting and walking. And all the while enjoying the beauty around.
The combination of watercolor and markers allows relatively quick capture of details and mountain lines. Smaller formats can be completed in one afternoon, while larger images take several days. For longer transitions, speed is therefore decisive – paint only as long as there is enough food in the backpack.
The Slovenian Alps, the Rockies in Canada and the White mountains in Alaska did not allow me to paint more than just a few pieces due to the weather and the difficulty of the treks. But each of them reminds me of a beautiful place more than a photograph.
Perhaps the most beautiful valley on our planet – surrounded by the highest rock walls in the world, with the smell of pines and the purity of streams and the proximity of wild animals. The iconic massifs of El Capitan and especially Half Dome turn into glowing orange monuments at sunset.
Sleeping under the stars on top of the rocks with a view of the famous walls was one of the most beautiful places to create at.
Oregon’s jewel Crater Lake is unexpectedly quiet and peaceful in winter. The road, which thousands of people can reach by car in the summer, is covered with several meters of snow in the winter and offers the unique possibility of a three-day trip around the lake on snowshoes.
Painting on snow is not exactly a natural environment for watercolors, and the water needs to be warmed up so that it doesn’t freeze. Like frozen fingers. But the sun here has enormous power during the day and can quickly make you forget about the freezing cold at night.