Monday, January 2, 2012

Winter Hike to Orris Falls

Orris Falls is a beautiful waterfall in a wooded hilly area near Mount Agamenticus in York, Maine.

This waterfall is on land that is part of a collection of land trusts.   
Field Sketch Orris Falls watercolor 6x8

It is an easy hike through the woods to reach the falls.

The path is an old road that passes through wet lowlands with winding brooks and thickets of pines.

 As you get closer to the falls the path climbs higher and higher.  Soon you are walking on the crest of a tall ridge.

At the very top of the ridge are two ponds. Beavers created the large ice-covered pond... 

...which flows into a smaller ice-rimmed pool of faster moving water...  

...that spills into a small creek...
Field Sketch Orris Falls watercolor 3x3

...that carves a path through the trees ...

...splashing and foaming around rocks... 
Field Sketch Orris Falls watercolor 4x4

...making collars of ice on boulders and along the edges of the stream.
Field Sketch Orris Creek watercolor 6x8

It gathers speed as it rushes down the hillside in between large granite ledges.

The sides of the ravine are steep.
Field Sketch Orris Falls Ravine watercolor 4x5

 Over the years many trees had toppled down into this narrow valley.

Some were old and rotting; others looked like they were up rooted in a recent storm.
Field Sketch Orris Falls Ravine watercolor 4x6

I scouted for painting locations on a high trail as Marcus climbed down into the bottom of the ravine.

He found a perfect spot for me to sketch down near the edge of the falls... 

...on a narrow ledge below the top of the rushing cascade.

I sketched the water as it surged down from above me.

It streamed down forming interesting ice formations on the mossy granite outcroppings.
Field Sketch Orris Falls Ravine watercolor 7x9

I sat very still sketching. The hillside was sharply angled and covered with slippery leaves. 

The rock ledge I was sitting on hung out over the falling water.

It is the only level spot on the falls. Beside me the land falls abruptly down to the bottom of the falls. 

The water roared by with a crashing sound. 
Field Sketch Orris Falls watercolor 6x6

I'll definitely return to this location with my oils paints to do some plein air paintings. 


  1. Looks beautiful and your sketches turned out amazing! Good for you getting out this Winter here in Maine! I need to follow your lead. You are inspiring!

  2. Excellent post Mary! Very inspiring!

  3. I agree. Excellent post. great work. thanks for sharing.

  4. You are a polar bear!....brrrrr not for moi! Love your work, Mary!

  5. Thank you Susan, Brad, Sharon and Karyn !