I had visited most of the parks in the western US by the time I was 26, but I had traveled through only sections of the eastern United States even into my early 40s. I had long been curious about visiting The Great Smoky Mountains since it was a large park with the highest biodiversity in the United States and it would include a mixture of historic sites and mist-covered trails and mountains.
Having arrived in fall with bright oranges, reds, and yellows vibrant in every direction I decided I would paint the Smokies in the height of fall. I saw three black bears in a matter of two days and wild turkeys along the roadside. Finally, unlike many parks which feature almost exclusively natural features, the many cabins were a unique aspect of the park that I decided to include in the painting.