Donald Neff, Artist


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Donald Neff, Artist

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WebLog History:

Oct-Dec 2005

Jul-Sep 2006

Apr-Jun 2006

Jan-Mar 2006

Oct-Dec 2005

Jul-Sep 2005

Apr-Jun 2005

Jan-Mar 2005

Oct-Dec 2004

Jul-Sep 2004

Apr-Jun 2004

Jan-Mar 2004

Oct-Dec 2003

Jul-Sep 2003

Apr-Jun 2003

Jan-Mar 2003





A Personal Journal of Art

This WebLog or "Blog" is a journal of my personal experience with creating, observing, research, musing and other information about art. Note that dates are in reverse order.

July-September 2003

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


Driving back by the Glacier Hotel, it was now embraced with snow.

The Garden Wall, now covered in the first snow of the season.


We were scheduled to fly home today and had originally planned to retrace our steps over Logan Pass to Kalispell. Although the snow had stopped, it was still ominous, and the pass still closed. To meet our flight in Kalispell, we had to drive around the south end of Glacier National Park, making a loop to where we had started from.

Driving back by Glacier Park Lodge, it was now embraced in snow. We also had a few minutes to drive back up close to Going to the Sun Road and see the new snow sprinkled along the Garden Wall. The swirling clouds and dusted snow was quite a change from the sunny view just a few days before!

Even though the trip did not turn out well for doing plein air painting, I took 267 photos which will provide more than enough material for years to come. After all, I have done a dozen paintings from only 36 photos I took over 20 years ago!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


Trying to start a painting at a Many Glacier overlook.

Snow at Logan Pass.

Sunrift Gorge. You may notice it is a little blurry from the snow falling.

Baring Falls. Again, it is blurry from the snow falling.


Waking up to snow and low 30 degree temperatures, it sure didn’t look to be a good outdoor painting day. We headed south to our next evening destination, St Mary.

Planned stops along the way was Many Glacier. I hoped to finally do a plein air painting there come rain, snow, or shine. The temperature kept dropping and more snow started falling. In spite of it all, I set up on a vista just above the Many Glacier Hotel, which had already closed for the season. The gusts, snow, and 20 degree temperatures was too much. Since acrylics are water based and freeze, it was no use. No painting today.

We decided to move on and head south to St Mary. The snow was off and on so we thought a drive back up to Logan Pass from the East side was in order. By the time we arrived at the pass, it had turned into a snow blizzard. What a sight! We could not see more than a few hundred feet, but the view was spectacular! The bases of the towering peaks disappeared upward like ghosts in the night. We jumped out and took a picture at the Logan Pass sign.

Coming back off the pass, we stopped at Sunrift Gorge and Baring Falls. Hiking through the snow flakes the third mile to Baring Falls was a blast.

The snow kept pounding on us so we retreated to our room, lounges and gift shops at the St Mary Lodge. As soon as we arrived, we not surprisingly heard that Logan Pass had just been closed!

This was the first lodge we stayed at which had television in the room. The previous three nights, in the grand lodges of the park, there are no TV's! Although we never missed the television, it was good to catch up on the news!

That evening while sitting around the fire at the lodge, we met a couple who had come over the pass around the time were were there just before it closed. They said that morning it had been sunny on the western side of the pass, and hit snow towards the top.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Running Eagle Falls

Prince of Wales Hotel

Another shot of the hotel.

Blakiston Falls


As predicted by the weatherman, we awoke to a “socked in”, overcast, and drizzly sky. The forecast was for much of the same all day. Not a great day for painting!

We went up to Two Medicine, and did a short hike to Running Eagle Falls. I had painted this falls before and wanted to see it again. Running Eagle Falls is a highlight of a trip to Two Medicine. In the spring, water rushes over the upper fall so thick that the lower fall is completely hidden. Later in summer, as flows decrease, the water seems to change course and flow almost exclusively out of the lower fall. It's easy to see why this waterfall used to be named Trick Falls.

Our final destination for the day was Waterton Lake, Canada, and the unique Prince of Wales Hotel. The hotel sits on a knoll overlooking Water Lake. One of the most photographed hotels in the world, Prince of Wales was built in 1927.

We were greeted by bellboys in kilts, and of course had to ask "the" question. I finally got an answer! They wear nothing underneath when just with men, but if they are going to be with women, wear something underneath.

We had heard you could find bears along the Red Rock Parkway, just outside of town. Sure enough, just a few miles up the road we encountered a brown bear lazily munching berries close to the road.

We drove on up the parkway to Red Rock Canyon. A short hike to Blakiston Falls looked tempting, so we started down the trail. Blakiston Falls, although not large, was one of the more pleasant falls we had encountered. My companion, Don, thought it was the prettiest falls we had seen so far.

Later in the day, we drove up Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake. It was getting colder and a little more snow, so decided it was time to head back to the Prince of Wales Hotel.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Looking down on the Garden Wall and Going to the Sun Road.

One of the locals.

Yours Truly at Hidden Lake Overlook.


St Mary Falls

The magnificent Glacier Park Hotel

Lobby of the Glacier Park Hotel. Notice the pillars made of huge Douglas Fir tree trunks.


Today was planned to be a big day as we headed up Going to the Sun Road and Logan Pass.

This is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular drives in the country. I had been here 20 years ago and the pass was closed due to avalanche. This time it was open & turning into a beautiful day.

The itch to stop and do a painting was great. However, cloudy weather and rain was predicted for the next several days, so we decided to cover as much ground as we could while the sun was out. Photographs would have to do for later paintings.

Going to the Sun Road transverses the Garden Wall and up over Logan Pass. The Garden Wall is a a sheer, knife-edged arête (commonly pronounced "ah RHET"), which extends for miles and many thousands of feet high.

After arriving at the pass, we hiked 1.5 miles up to the Hidden Lake overlook. Along the way a mountain goat and wolverine showed their faces.

The view at Hidden Lake overlook to the Southwest was un describable. Located under Reynolds Mountain, the lake is nestled in towering cliffs and peaks. The backlit lake was a shimmering blue in the ochre alpine meadows and gray granite wilderness.

Heading further east over Going to the Sun Road, our next destination was the trail to St. Mary Falls. The falls are about 1.5 miles off the road and an easy hike. The falls cataract several times through a rocky gorge and ends in a deep bluish green pool. I rarely use the brilliant thalo green and blue colors, but mentally made a note that was how intense the waters were.

Our destination for the night was Glacier Park Lodge. Another grand lodge built by the early railroaders in 1913, it sits just across from the train depot. The lodge was a destination for many easterners coming to the park via train. As guests enter Glacier Park Lodge, they pause with awe at the enormous Douglas Fir trees that surround its majestic lobby and realize why it is commonly called the "Big Tree Hotel".

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald

McDonald Falls

Avalanche Gorge


Glacier National Park has been called the “Crown Jewel of America”. It has also been referred to as the “Switzerland of America”.

I last visited this wonderland 20 years ago and always wanted to return. I have probably done a dozen paintings from just a few rolls of film taken during that brief trip.

Some months ago, a friend and in-law, also named “Don” and I decided to take a “husbands” tour of the park. Just us two…no wife, kids or family. We love our wifes and family, but wanted to be completely free to move fast, hike lots, and see as much as we can. Of course, it had to be a painting trip, also!

We flew into Kalispell, Montana, today, hopped in our rental car and headed to Glacier. We checked into Lake McDonald Lodge, one of the grand lodges of the early 1900’s built by the railroad magnates of the time.

The lodge was built in 1913 and Charles M. Russell, the famous western artist was rumored to have scratched the pictographs on the massive fireplace in the lobby.

There was time left in the day to drive up the road and do our first sight seeing. We visited McDonald Falls, and walked up “Trail of the Cedars” to Avalanche Creek and Gorge. I didn’t take my paints as we had 4 more days on our trip.

Sunday, July 20, 2003








After a day and a half driving back across the hot desert, we finally arrived home. The natural air conditioning of the San Francisco Bay area felt quite good after spending a week in Arizona!

Friday, July 18, 2003



My easel on a back road in Sedona, Arizona.

The study, which took about an hour on my easel.


On Friday, I finally escaped for a time to do a painting. A good spot was just a mile up Schnebley Hill Road. The view up Schnebly Hill Road is spectacular. It eventually turns into a dirt road, but is passable by any car. If you ever visit Sedona, be sure to take a quick side trip up this road.

I painted one of the spectacular red rock buttes, but wasn't sure of the name. My main goal was to capture the actual colors of the rock.

Schnebley Hill Road.


Wednesday, July 16, 2003


Grand Canyon, Arizona.


We took a day trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. I have only done several paintings of the canyon, but after this trip, have to do more! Although I did not have my paints, lots of pictures may contribute to a future studio painting.

Monday, July 14, 2003






The second leg of our trip to Sedona, was only half a day. We took 89A out of Flagstaff, which winds down through Oak Creek Canyon. If you ever have the opportunity, take this drive. It is well worth it! A few links about the canyon:

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Sedona, Arizona.




Sedona, Arizona is nestled in the midst of 'red-rock' country. It has been called the most beautiful place in America,

We left for Sedona today to attend a family reunion. Although it is rather warm this time of year there, we all have air conditioning in our RV's, so figured we would survive.

Although this was not a painting trip, of course I could not pass up bringing my equipment to paint the beautiful area.

The first leg of the trip was from San Jose, CA to Laughlin, NV. We had to cross the searing Mojave desert, and even it was having a heat wave! As I gassed up in Needles, CA, they told me it had reached 123 degrees there that day!


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