Orson Schofield (Old Mountain) Phelps (May 6, 1817 - April 14, 1905) was an early Adirondack guide from Keene Valley. Phelps named many of the Adirondack High Peaks, and cut the first trail up Mount Marcy. Phelps Mountain is named in his honor.Phelps' image was made famous in paintings by Winslow Homer, and photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard. . (Wikipedia)
Fellow artist and exhibitor,George Ludlow, came up with an interesting challenge. Last year when we were discussing some paintings he did of Old Mountain Phelps,he thought it would be fun if everyone in our next show would produce a painting of Phelps. I couldn't stop thinking about it, especially when i saw the tangle of his beard. It reminded me of a topographical map.
In a departure from my usual techniques of oil and pastel i created a collage from a 1907 map of the high peaks (no actual map was harmed in this process) The pack he is carrying IS an contemporary map I used in hiking and was in tatters. In his beard I included all the places Phelps might have been familiar with. After that I had to figure out what to make his shirt out of. I used actual birch bark. The vest and background are pieces of hand made paper. The face I drew with a quill pen. I framed it with an actual Victorian frame from his era.This project was a lot of fun and a real welcome break from my usual landscape painting. 11x14 Mixed media collage in Victorian frame.