Today's Journey - Whiterock

Rey Fire leaves it's mark!

Today the Rose Compass artists traveled into the Whiterock camp grounds of the Los Padres National Forest where just a few weeks earlier in September the massive Rey Fire was suppressed. The fire scored over 32,600 acres causing the closure of the grounds for weeks while fire crews handled suppression repair. The grounds were closed to the public for weeks as smoke could be seen coming from the interior and patrols made sure all hot spots were put out.

 Scored trees lined the banks

Scored trees lined the banks

So, today, it was very eerie walking into this ravaged landscape to find trees black as coal and hillsides barren of vegetation against a cobalt blue sky. Little remains of the Santa Ynez river that once rushed through this valley. The drought and the fire have redefined the once rambling waters that teamed with fish and nourished the animals living near its' banks.

 Little pools of water are all that is left of the river that once flowed through this valley

Little pools of water are all that is left of the river that once flowed through this valley

As a painter, there is still a lot of beauty to be captured even in the depleted scene...here is my set-up and work in progress for the day. The other joy I find is in the company of these six women with whom I share this journey. We often start each trip scouting the area then each artist settles into a place that feels right. When the morning comes to a close, we gather for lunch and talk about our discoveries, looking at the art that each has created to capture the reality of the landscapes before us.

 Nicole in front of a tree that had been cut down after the Rey Fire

Nicole in front of a tree that had been cut down after the Rey Fire

 Libby standing in the dry river bed scouting for her place to paint for the day

Libby standing in the dry river bed scouting for her place to paint for the day