I didn’t imagine it was such a busy year until I started to look back at it all! Twenty-fifteen saw the start of a long streak of inspiration for painting the mountains with which I am most familiar, the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The seeds had been planted the previous year while I looked back at photos from my week-long solo hike along a portion of the Appalachian Trail. I painted one larger watercolor of the Great Gulf and immediately started on some smaller pieces that would become the “White Mountain Minis” group of my Hinterlands series.The Beauty of Winter.One of the flowering fruit trees in Harvard's Arnold Arboretum under the cover of snow. February 2015.
In January, for a change of pace I signed up for a portrait class at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and had the benefit, most Tuesday nights, of painting for three uninterrupted hours. No master of portraiture by the end, l was still thrilled to have studio time away from home working on a completely foreign topic. We wrapped up the class with a visit to the new Harvard Art Museums where we had a private viewing of works on paper pulled from the collections.
Portrait Sketch. February 2015.One of my slightly more successful attempts at portraiture. A few classes did have to be rescheduled and life in general was difficult to navigate in February with the tiny problem of all that snow. There were times that my seven mile commute to and from work stretched to over two hours (normally it takes about 45 minutes) as I abandoned the overwhelmed public transit system and walked for long stretches over barely cleared streets and sidewalks. My father came to visit early in the month and ended up spending a few unexpected extra days when his bus home was repeatedly cancelled. We went snowshoeing and sledding and shovelled. And shovelled. And shovelled. Eventually we just ran out of places to put the snow.
I caught a break from the madness with a five-day cross country ski trip to the Maine Woods as part of my work at the Appalachian Mountain Club. Though we faced brutally cold weather (I think the thermometer bottomed out at 28 degrees below zero) our stay at Gorman Chairback and Little Lyford Lodges was warm, entertaining and full of adventure. Long ski trips over perfectly groomed trails took some of the sting off of an otherwise horrid winter.Post Ragnar Cape Cod Relay libations. May 2015.A short visit to Truro Vineyards after running and riding in a van for two days helped revive my tired legs! Dinner and a long walk in Wellfleet did not hurt either.
The spring did arrive in turn and a short trip to North Carolina in April to visit family melted the remaining ice out of our toes. Back in the Bay State I ran with a team of friends and colleagues in the Ragnar Cape Cod relay. With two vans, twelve people, very little sleep, and a lot of delirious laughter we covered almost two hundred miles by running in turns from Hull to Provincetown in just over 27 hours. Since we clearly did not get enough this year we’re already signed up to do it again in 2016.
The hiking season began in June and a plan I’d been thinking about for work started to take shape. I tested out a costume that I planned to wear for a week in July as I again hiked through the White Mountains, this year as a “tramper” from 1915 in celebration of the centennial of the AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut. These are the crazy kinds of things I get to do as the club Archivist and unofficial historian. Mohonk Preserve. June 2015.Mohonk Preserve features miles of trails and spectacular cliffs. I worked on breaking in my hiking boots after their long winter’s rest with trips to the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Shawangunks in New York, though nothing could prepare me for the early July heat I would encounter in the White Mountains this year. I found my mostly-wool costume practical in all respects except for temperature control on those hottest day. However, I did meet lots of wonderful people, travel through an amazing landscape, and experience the mountains in all their moods: bright sun, lashing rain, and everything in between. You can read the full account of that adventure here.
The view from Mount Madison, N.H. July 2015.Spectacular clouds swirled in the valley on my last day in the White Mountains. I had hiked all day through cold and rain on the Presidential Range the previous day. I was able to dry out completely in this weather. Within in weeks of coming home I was off again, this time to a conference in Raleigh, NC on digital collections management. I came home with dozens of technical acronyms floating through my head and a lot of ideas about what I needed to do at work. That lasted for about a week before a quick trip was made to visit my mother in Maine where we stacked lots of wood and got a taste of Maine’s fleeting summer weather. Then we were off for an annual August vacation on Cape Cod. The marshes around Blackfish Creek, Wellfleet, Cape Cod. August 2015.What soon became my usual afternoon sketching spot. Two weeks of painting, sketching, running, kayaking, swimming, and relaxing was just what I needed, but not always what I got. Having bought supplies for outdoor art fairs and festivals, my husband and I spent a number of hot, tiring days selling paintings and prints at the Wellfleet Flea Market and the Wellfleet Artisan Market. Though we learned how to set up our booth like a team and all of our customers were really nice, the early mornings and changeable weather were exhausting. We ended up giving ourselves a few extra days ‘off’ to truly be on vacation.
September and October brought a few last trips north to Vermont and New Hampshire to squeeze as much as we could out of the hiking season. I spent a few early November days exploring Portland, Maine during the annual New England Museum Association conference. A flurry of family visitors for Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the end of another year. In addition to everything else the year was interspersed with gallery show receptions, a partnership to sell work at Wellesley Bakery and Cafe in Wellesley, Mass., and the introduction of my new online storefront at shop.rmfullerton.com. The Worcester Range seen from Calais, Vermont. October 2015.Lying in the warm autumn sun, enjoying cheese, bread, chocolate and a cold beer. Nothing could be better.
So many projects need to wrapped up still, but there is a quiet anticipation of winter and all the wild adventures I hope to have in the coming year. As my beaten down, falling apart flip-flops (that finally bit the dust this year) kept telling me via the printed message on their footbeds: “Never stop exploring.”
BeckyOn Webster Cliffs, New Hampshire. July 2015.Halfway into a week-long hike. Could not be happier!