Watercolors by
  Bill Hudson     
Monthly Newsletter 

Endless Scenery: Pisgah National Forest
by Bill Hudson

Last month, Ellie and I enjoyed two weeks in Back Mountain, North Carolina. We were invited by my sister Kathy and brother-in-law Kermit who are familiar with the town, the area, and the prime times to visit. For sheer visual beauty, our timing was near perfect.
Black Mountain is a small country town of about 8,000 people, sitting at 2,405 feet elevation, 15 miles east of Asheville. The historic downtown attracts many tourists with pubs, live music, restaurants, shops, outdoor markets, art galleries, etc. For me, however, the real attraction is the neighboring Pisgah National Forest—rugged mountains, covered with 100+ species of hardwood, deciduous trees, divided by rivers, streams, brooks, creeks, and spectacular waterfalls everywhere. In the fall, Pisgah becomes a magical land in full autumn colors. And, according to locals, we had hit an exceptional year. I couldn’t take enough reference photographs. Hundreds of miles of hiking trails serve to reconnect with God’s magnificent creation. Appropriately, Mount Pisgah was named after the Biblical mountain that Moses stood on as he first gazed at “the promised land.”
Ref 1
Ref 2
Ref 3
Ref 4
Ref 5
Ref 6
Red House Art Gallery and Studios
Historic Black Mountain
White Horse Black Mountain
Pisgah became a national forest in 1916 after 86,700 acres were sold to the federal government from part of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. The Biltmore Estate, with its 250 rooms built in 1895 for George Vanderbilt II, is still the largest privately owned home in America. Fortunately, George, grandson of the famed industrialist Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, was interested in agriculture and stewardship. In 1896, he created the Biltmore Forest School, the first such school in North America. After additional acquisitions, Pisgah National Forest gradually expanded and now includes 513,000 acres, or roughly 800 square miles.
The four of us explored Pisgah on daily hikes. We began to recognize trees by their colors: the deep reds of dogwoods, beech, and gum trees… the bright yellows of hickories, chestnut, elm, birch, walnut, and ash… the orange of sassafras and maples… the maroons of oaks and sycamore…and the evergreens pine, hemlock, spruce, and fir. Unlike our west coast forests, evergreens were by far the minority until elevations increased approaching Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet.

What’s Next?
I’m looking forward to many paintings from my 800+ reference photographs. I want to explore various techniques painting fall foliage with transparent watercolor: perhaps with casein highlights, with and without masking fluid, with dark versus sunlit backgrounds, in both impressionism and realism, etc.

I also look forward to seeing other artists’ interpretations after I introduce these photos to my January class in Laguna Beach.

Side Notes
  • On two occasions, as "the women" explored downtown, Kermit and I played golf at Black Mountain Golf Course which features the longest par 6 in the United States and once the longest hole in the world…a 747-yard monster. With possibly the only 6 good shots either of us hit all day, we each parred that hole.
  • After long days of hiking, several evenings were spent listening to live music in the White Horse Black Mountain night club, downtown. Tuesdays were open mic nights. Our last Saturday featured the 17-piece Asheville Jazz Orchestra. Every night at the White Horse was a great, memorable experience.
Again, I thank each of you for your continued interest in this Newsletter. If you wish to make any art related announcements or comments that may benefit the readers, feel free to submit them for the next issue.
Past Newsletters
Past Newsletters are listed chronologically by title in the Newsletter section of my website www.BillHudsonArt.com/newsletter/

Events & Galleries
Singulart, an online gallery selling original art from juried artists with free global shipping and returns. I recommend Singulart for any collector or contemporary artist.
Fine Art America, is an online print-on-demand gallery which sells nearly all my images. These are available in a wide range of sizes on many substrates and objects including: coffee cups, shirts, towels, greeting cards, puzzles, phone cases, and tote bags.
Art Instructor, Laguna Methodist Art Association, Mondays in January, 9:30 to 12:30