100 Views of High Peak
What is the nature of sacred? It is a question that surfaced and gradually became the focus of a series of paintings, of which High Peak, Amherst County is a part. As I worked to prepare an exhibit for Sweet Briar College that included several prints by Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), I could understand the power and majesty of Mount Fuji in the lives of the Japanese people. I wondered if I were to choose a sacred mountain, what would it be? For the Monacan Indians, living near my home in Amherst County VA, the answer to that question is Bear Mountain. There is obviously a story there that I have yet to learn. But with no personal history or magical experience involving Bear Mountain, I had to nominate a different mountain, High Peak of Tobacco Row Mountain. As I began to look for it and for sites to paint from, the mountain seemed to appear everywhere. I realized that it was a beacon for me. I grew up in the West Virginia mountains and feel a certain comfort there. When I first came to Amherst County, High Peak was my daily view. The power line cut to the top acts as a sort of compass by which I gauge location. Surely someone actually owns the mountain, but as a sacred mountain, it belongs to all of us; to bring comfort, to point the way home.