The artist unfolded the easel on the high balcony of the rental where she was staying. She chose the western view that held the morning sun in its strong golden autumnal gaze. The second-hand easel had worn its joints and she had to gently lock the hinges in place to secure it. The artist placed her blank canvas onto the easel and stepped back. She grabbed her mug of coffee and inhaled deeply the fragrant aroma, suspended it seemed in heavy mountain air.
Her eyes scanned the scene. An old farm house, sheltered and held by a strand of aspens turning green to gold. She took up her pencil and began to sketch and feel the sspen leaves shimmering and twinkling in the golden morning light. She caught whispers of her old landlord below murmuring to his cat and heard the clink and splash of a water bowl being refilled. She paused as she began to block out areas of the canvas to hold the dark, secretive mountain range at the back and the tall majestic spruce heavy with pines to the side of the house. The stately, deep-green branches offered shelter to the wild grasses and birds from the cool mountain wind.
The paper was rough and the artist could feel the pencil pulling the outline of leaves, branches, windowsills and porches out of and across the paper. The wind picked up; she squinted into the sun as she grabbed her coat closer around her. She felt and saw alternating casts of shadow and light move across the paper, the scene and her own canvas. Slowly, the tender strokes of her pencil began to reveal the daintiness of fall-colored leaves, the upright bearing of the aspen trunk and the weathering of the wood and paint around windows and eaves. She inhales deeply and exhales more deeply, noticing the dark clouds moving in from the west. The light swiftly changing, the coffee getting cold, she moves across the canvas capturing the ephemeral moment of a mountain morning.