The board sat for over a year with a beautiful ethereal background I had painted in using acrylic washes.. It didn’t really have a purpose until yesterday when looking for a large board (canvas) for a snow leopard painting. It was as if it had been waiting all this time and cried out ,”take me, take me… I saw my first snow leopard, well, snow leopard pelt in a bazaar in Kabul ,Afghanistan. It was 1972 and I was nieve enough to believe if I got to Kashmir I’d see the real thing. So out came what was left of our trusty American Express Traveler’s Checques, a relic of the past, and off we flew through the Himalayas in a little plane held together with duct tape and not much else.
I feel like I’m finding the snow leopard buried in the mist in the mountains. I’ve been reading a lot about their habitat in northern Pakistan being threatened by melting glaciers caused by global warming. I’m hoping to include melting ice somewhere in the composition. I can’t help but wonder what changes have occurred in Gilget since I was there in the 70’s. Snow Leopard research is being done in that part of the world and in much of the habitat in the mountainous areas of Asia
I never saw a trace of a snow leopard while in Kashmir but I saw valleys of such magnificence huddled between the Himalayas .And the national sport, why, polo of course. But like nothing you have ever witnessed. It was like watching a centaur as man and beast became one.
One of the riders was the owner of many of the horses and showed us his great stable of polo ponies. At eighty, Harvard educated, he claimed to be the Rajah of all Panjal. During tea he pointed out an old picture of himself with the Duke of Windsor.
I could have stayed in Kashmir and hiked the mountains and valleys but was abruptly stopped short by war breaking our between India and Pakistan. So, here we are. There truly can’t be a more beautiful, isolated and safe place but yet our government orders all US citizens to leave the country. That was how I ended up in Pakistan being shot at and bombed by Indian jets.
Gilgit was a tiny town nestled in a valley high in the Himalayan mountains in northern Pakistan which was then Kashmir. The trip was a story in itself. Shear cliff, rock slides, one lane.
Currently the small town has grown into a city since I was there . I remember the nights being ungodly cold. There was no heat so a person slept in every article of clothing he had. In my case that included an Afghan coat made from goat skins with the wool on the inside. On top of all that,a heavy felt blanket completed the ensemble. I have vivid memories of waking with ice on the wall from my breath, but the memories I cherish most are those beautiful snow covered mountains changing colors with the light. I often wish I had had a camera with me. The pictures I could have taken would give me so much pleasure now. I can try to capture moments in my paintings, but it never manages to live up to the memories.
Amazing how the painting has changed . The addition of warm light as apposed to the cooler northern light of the previous works in progress that have been photograph shows you what the addition of home lighting and an incandescent bulb will do. This is the light I paint under because this is the light in the home. The red circle is Gilgit
I think I’m getting close but still unsure on putting ice in the painting
“ON THE EDGE” (SOLD)
The year 2015 has been designated the “Year of the Snow Leopard” by International organization…read more