In the Footsteps of the Hudson River School

“The Adirondacks have long been an important part of my life,” says Sarah Yeoman. “For over 60 years I’ve spent my summers being informed and inspired by the landscape. I think being in and around so much beauty is actually what taught me to see and is a large part of why I’m an artist today.

watercolor painting of waterfall
“Death Falls, Raquette Lake” (watercolor, 16 x 14 in.) by Sarah Yeoman

“For me, a highlight of the Adirondacks is the water. There’s an endless number of interconnected lakes, rivers, and creeks — a network of waterways that allows you to explore and paint remote areas. The diversity within the watershed supplies a variety of different views to paint.

watercolor floral painting
“Chicory and Queen Annes Lace” (watercolor, 18 x 12 in.) by Sarah Yeoman

“My friend and fellow painter Brienne M. Brown has a family camp 14 miles up the lake from me. One day I drove my motorboat down to her camp, picked her up, and steered us out into the middle of the lake, where we proceeded to set up our easels. We quickly discovered how difficult it is to get your brush on paper when the boat is rocking in the waves and the wind is whipping down the lake. I don’t remember how the paintings turned out, but I do remember how much we laughed.

watercolor painting of waterfall
“OK Slip Falls” (watercolor, 12 x 9 in.) by Sarah Yeoman

“It’s hard to pick the best time of year to go, but September and October are two of my favorite months to be there. The people and the bugs are gone; you feel like you have the whole place to yourself. Plus, fall color comes early to the Adirondacks.

watercolor landscape painting
“Mason Lake” (watercolor, 21 x 14 in.) by Sarah Yeoman

“If you go, check out the Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake. It’s filled with Adirondack art, architecture, and the history of the region. The work of plein air painter Harold Weston is particularly inspiring to me. And if you get the chance, I’d recommend a visit to Camp Sagamore to see more Adirondack architecture.

photo of woman in kayak
Sarah Yeoman paddling the Essex Chain

“But the main attraction is the landscape. Get in your car and drive the entire Adirondacks to start. Then, if you are able, climb a mountain to see the scale of the peaks and vastness of the wilderness. Finally, rent a kayak or canoe and explore the serpentine waterways that lead you to a different world.”

  • Paint where there is a breeze.
  • If possible, build a campfire near where you’re painting.
  • Wear a hat.
    — Sarah Yeoman

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  1. I grew up in the Adirondacks and didn’t appreciate the beauty until I moved away and “grew up”! Its a beautiful place with painting worth vistas around every bend in the road.

  2. Wonderful articles I only wish I could paint like that. I am only a beginner and doing it for fun but I love each moment of it. Do you have anything for beginners to maybe practise with?

  3. What a wonderful surprise to read that you and Brienne Brown are friend and live near one another! I’ve been following her for years, having fallen in love with her paintings. I was immediately drawn to yours as well, only to learn that you’re friends ‘ artists do indeed bloom in bunches. Thanks to both of you for the inspiration; I’m getting a bit of a late start with watercolor, so appreciate your skill and vision, as well as your obvious love of the natural world. Cheers from Seattle!


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