Shrouded in clouds, the view from a mountain hut.

mountain cabin
A cabin in the mountains, South Tyrol, 2020
mountain cabin postard
A hut in the mountain (brush pen drawing on Japanese postcard), mountain hut, yamagoya, やまごや, 山小屋, 2020

Inking a mountain hut and clouds

If you have hiked in mountain areas too, you might remember the moments where you aimed for a nice shot of a particular mountain peak or range, only for it to disappear behind heavy clouds for a long, long while. Hiking in South Tyrol this year, I had a few of those moments. One of them occurred when I came across this mountain hut surrounded by a flower meadow, with the mountains in the distance. From an ink painting perspective though, this mountain hut view was a perfect challenge, precisely because of those clouds.

Clouds are tough to get across convincingly with brushes and brush pens alike. They require very soft faint ink washes and the right angle in brush strokes to make up their shape. The mountain hut, with that mix of dried up, dilapidated wood rooftop and burnt wood walls, was equally too good an ink painting opportunity to pass up. Oh, and then there was that other pink flower meadow too. In case you missed last week’s post: Drop by drop to the infinity of a summer alpine meadow. So snap, snap and reference shot for another postcard taken.

Inking this postcard took longer than any other in this series of mountain postcards, even though its elements appear the lightest. The mountain is clearly only inked with a few strokes. To suggest the clouds, the water tank brush is dipped in only the faintest grey. I waited for each wash stroke to dry before adding the next one. This way I could see the final color set before moving on. Add too much at once and often you don’t get clouds anymore, just a grey blurry mess. The mountain hut is painted in flat brush strokes of grey ink and a fanned out black brush pen.

Embracing the refuge

Alpine mountain huts are not just a pretty sight on a hiking trail. Sure, they look attractive in the range of colours that their diverse age patina exposes to the sun. They give off an air of quiet solitude. Some, however also have the benefit of being a refuge, be it for a daytime stopover, or the night. They offer you the chance to rest your legs, to catch your breath and replenish your energy (and stomach) before moving on to the next stretch. They’re not just a pretty sight, they are a welcome sight.

What are the sights you find welcoming in the places around you or on your holiday break? Which places are synonymous with refuge to you? This week, take a moment to think about such spaces or perhaps find a new one to add to your list. Refuge doesn’t have to be a place in a distant mountain, I can think of a couple of other spaces at home that offer the same feeling. Have a great week!

This week I shared some short clips on the beginning of a new art edition in the works. For a closer look, click here or play the content embedded below.

via “Mountain Hut”