Archive for November, 2010

The First Snow of the Season

November 22, 2010

A Light Layer of Snow by Cheryl McDonald

My sister Denise called- ” Looks like the mountains are covered with snow, thinking about going to shoot clouds, would you like to go along?”

It had been cold and windy all morning, I managed to get some wood in the back yard sorted and stacked just before the storm hit here. Rain and Hail. I looked out at the mountains and said “sure let’s go!”

We packed our cameras, picked up some hot tea and headed for Walker’s Pass. It has been a long time since I lived this close to snow and I had forgotten how beautiful a first snow can be. The desert was still in Fall wardrobe, some rust colored dried flowers and dried yellow sages mixed with the Joshua trees that stand like sentries watching over the land. The air was crisp and cold, fresh and the smell of snow was in the air.

Snow Covered Desert by Cheryl McDonald

Joshua's in the Snow by Cheryl McDonald

Joshua Bristles and Snow by Cheryl McDonald

We drove about half way up the pass and the snow was getting pretty heavy.  We did not have chains or four-wheel drive and we didn’t want to chance not making it back down the mountain. So we had to be satisfied with what we found. No problem! The snow covered desert, the clouds rolling fiercely across the deep blue sky. It was all magnificent.

Branches by Cheryl McDonald

On our way back to town I decided that a sunrise trip North was in order. Denise was otherwise engaged- it being Monday and all, so Georgia my chihuahua and I set off this morning at 4am to capture the sunrise on the face of Mount Whitney.

Moonset, Sunrise over the Sierras by Cheryl McDonald

A beautiful drive in the dark up 395, the full moon was hanging over the Sierras ,and I was getting very excited, as I realized the full moon would be setting over the mountains and the sunrise in the east would be happening at the same time. I was suddenly grateful for the clear skies as I anticipated the photo ops to come.

Red Stone by Cheryl McDonald

When we got to the Alabama Hills behind Lone Pine, CA, the pink cast of sunrise was edging it’s way across the landscape turning the already red rock to a brilliant orangey pink. I don’t think it had snowed this low yesterday as the hills were dry, but the snow on the mountains was beginning to sparkle as the sun came over the horizon.

Golden Monuments- Alabama Hills by Cheryl McDonald

Mount Whitney at Dawn by Cheryl McDonald

And then the magic began to happen. The sky was turning pink and mauve and lavender and the brilliant fullness of the moon, clear as if it was hanging right in front of me, began to shimmer in the sky as it cast a beautiful clear light on the pink face of the Stone mountains standing before me. It was an incredible gift and I felt honored to be in the presence of such magnificence.

First Snow by Cheryl McDonald

As the sun continued to rise, the light turned to golden and a little further up the road we found snow on the ground and again we stopped and enjoyed. Even Georgia got out of the car and played in the snow. It was so cute to see her romping and playing in snow!

Careful Steps by Cheryl McDonald

Georgia in the snow- by Cheryl McDonald

Dressed for the Cold by Cheryl McDonald

Once we had our fill of morning light and 24 degree temperatures, it was time to head back home.

Mount Whitney with a sprinkling of snow by Cheryl McDonald

But as we drove down 395, I looked to the west to see the next storm making it’s way over the mountain tops.  More snow is forecast and a significant chance for a freeze here at home is predicted. Who knows, maybe there will be another roadtrip at sunrise tomorrow!

Another Storm Coming by Cheryl McDonald

Cheryl McDonald is a artist living at the base of the Eastern Sierras. She works is watercolor and photography and gives workshops and travel workshops in both mediums. To see more of her photography please go to


Change that makes sense… surprisingly

November 16, 2010
Eastern Sierras-5 fingers mountain by Cheryl McDonald

Eastern Sierras-5 fingers mountain

When you are the captain of your own ship and suddenly the ship vers off in a completely different direction from where you have set the course, what do you do? Well I guess there are several things you can do:

option 1

You could use all your strength and might and try to turn the ship back around and keep banging your head on the same wall over and over hoping that at some point you will knock it over and you can have what you think you want on the other side.

or option 2

You could take stock of where you thought you were headed, was it really the right direction? Were you making the progress you wanted to make or had you just gotten bogged down in the muck and may as well have dropped anchor.

or option 3

You can look at the new course you are on, brought about by circumstances, and decide that hey! this is a direction I had never thought about before and Hey! maybe this will actually get me where I wanted to go in the first place!

I have chosen option 3

I have moved the ship of Passions at Play Art and Design to the Mojave desert. Ships in the desert? Yes I know, but these are interesting times and we need new and interesting solutions. Now located in Ridgecrest, California, in a valley between the Sierras and the Panamint Mountains, I have found a warm and comfortable community in which to create and develop. Through the wonders of the internet and UPS I can conduct business with  clients anywhere right from my little home in the desert.

So now that I have established myself here physically, I can now more fully establish my business here as well. This blog is the first step to letting you all know that I am still here, still creating and still available to help you add beauty through photography and watercolor to your homes, offices and business materials and books. Let’s create the beautiful world we all want to live in. This blog will be evolving as I evolve and Passions at Play evolves. More Art that inspires and supports a peaceful world is where I am headed at the moment. Web presence will be updated to include ways to purchase prints and other items. And I will be doing more exhibits and fairs and showings so that I can meet the people who inspire me to paint and photograph.

Change can be a difficult thing or it can be an easy thing, but one thing is for sure change is inevitable and we can either accept it and make the most of it and be happy or fight it and be miserable. I choose to be happy.

Creativity is humanities expression of its inherent divinity.

this I believe