It’s one thing to set up an easel in a convenient location for painting en plein air, but Montana artist Linda Tippetts (who is in her mid-seventies, setting a wonderful example for us all) prefers to take her gear to the mountains. I’ve asked her for her advice on hiking to a painting location, and here’s what she had to offer.
Plein Air Painting Advice and 10 Rules for Hiking by Linda Tippetts
- Get in shape. It won’t happen on the trail, so forget that wishful thinking that you don’t have to work out aerobic style prior to hitting the trailhead.
- Know your limitations. The definition of genius: “Genius knows its limitations” . . . self-explanatory.
- Don’t hike alone. The “buddy system” as defined by the military applies to civilians.
- Weigh your backpack. And then eliminate half the “stuff.” Make lists.
- Check weather reports. My go-to expert says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” (I’m not totally convinced, but there’s some merit to this.)
- Don’t trust the “guidebooks.” Talk to someone who has ACTUALLY HIKED.
- Hiking Boots – Spend money on good boots instead of stylish shirts and pants.
- Calculate the following – Elevation gain vs. miles vs. hours of daylight vs. personal speed.
- Water – Consider a portable filter system because usually there are creeks and waterfalls. Pack electrolytes – they don’t weigh much.
- Attitude – If you’re the only artist on the trip, don’t make your hiking buddies wait on the trail while you paint that masterpiece. Take a lot of pictures. Sherpas are hard to find as are good hiking buddies, so be considerate.
If you read between the lines, you’ll see I’ve learned all these rules by breaking them – kind of like painting!
Whitefish Gallery Nights Art Walk (July 5, 2018) features Linda Tippetts and her new work, inspired by frequent hikes in Glacier National Park and beyond. Tippetts’ work will be featured at Frame of Reference Fine Art for the entire month of July.