There is a spot near Hot Springs, North Carolina that is one of the most revered places I know. The ancient Celts would have called Max Patch “a thin place”, a place where heaven and earth are very close.
From its highest point of 4600 feet in elevation, you can see a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the distant Smokies, all at once.
It was a bright sunny day on my first visit to what would become my favorite spot along the Appalachian Trail. I was prepared to paint a scene from the top of Max Patch in plein air so I was well equipped. I had my easel, watercolor paints, watercolor paper, brushes, a bottle of drinking water, paper towels, and every conceivable thing an artist would need on site...except for an umbrella! Just as I got organized and started my drawing, a curtain of mist began closing in on the field of Queen Anne’s Lace. The effect was stunning, despite that everything got soaked with rain. I brought home several loose and watery studies and began painting in my studio the next day. I can still hear the stalks of grass in the wind while blossoms of lace dance against a palette of evergreens.
- Alan Shuptrine