Robert Eckes planned on painting the view from the 1,300-foot Bear Mountain, but the wind blew over his easel, and he packed up to go home. But a funny thing happened on the way back to his house… 

“The view from the top of Bear Mountain is spectacular,” recounts Eckes. “I was all set to go, but my setup was blown over by the wind. The canvas was punctured, the paints spilled—I packed up in frustration. While I was crossing the Bear Mountain Bridge, I looked north, and that view was spectacular. I pulled over and set up my little French easel on the pedestrian walkway and it turned out to be a beautiful day.” 

Eckes only went out on a bridge a little ways, just until he could see the railroad tracks at the desired angle. The wind was calmer than it was up on the mountain. He finished the piece in under four hours, despite its size (18″ x 36″). “I was pressed for time,” the New York painter acknowledges. “I was surprised that it turned out so well, but when you do something spontaneous you are often surprised by the outcome.” He thinks it was the largest canvas he’s painted outdoors. The key? “More than 70% of the canvas was sky and water. I added some of the detail of the railroad tracks at home. Plus, it helped that I used bigger brushes,” Eckes says with a laugh.


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