Definitely, as you can see, it was an arduous time.
When we got there and did the minimal bit of unpacking, we walked out on the balcony and took the required photo:
If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you have seen a version of the above photograph every year for as long as this blog has been around. The next photo, however, is a relatively new one: a moon rise. I did lighten the picture enough so you could see more than the moon and its reflection. It was a stunner.
That picture was taken after dinner on the first evening.
The next morning, D and I got up and started a first for us at the lake; we began a 5-mile, everyday, walk up and around what to us is a nameless mountain (though I am sure BD1 knows what it is). The first day we walked counter-clockwise which meant that the steepest section was in the beginning of the walk and was probably at least a mile long. More on our progress on this walk later.
After the walk, E, BD1, and I began painting. They are both very accomplished watercolor painters but had decided they wanted to try oils for a change of pace. I volunteered to take my supplies up to the lake and help them begin a painting. That way, they'd have an idea if they wanted to invest all the time (and money, too, of course) on a course in new medium this coming fall.
I didn't take any photos of their works (each of us worked on two paintings) even though they did very well and had nothing to hide from public view. It just wouldn't be right unless they could write their own descriptions. Anyway, my two paintings were a scene from China and one from Italy. Choosing the subjects was quite difficult as the canvas size was small, but the two scenes were well suited to it. Here is the one from China - the one closest to being finished. At the lake I painted on this one (using only brushes instead of my usual palette knife) for five days and again today.
It's clearly not finished, but I like the way it is shaping up. The Tibetan monk was photographed in Tienamin Square and the setting I snapped on the outside of the Summer Palace. Loving both photographs, I decided to combine them - and throw in the chickens for the heck of it and for all the fowl we saw in Beijing.