Alan Cotton  

Paintings - Tibet - Mount Everest

I had always had ambitions to paint in high Mountains. Then my good friend, the explorer David Hempleman-Adams, who had scaled all the highest peaks on every continent, including reaching the summit of Everest from Nepal, invited me to go as Expedition Artist when he was taking a group of climbers on an attempt to reach the summit of Everest from the North Face and invited me to go to go to Base Camp to draw the world's highest peak. My first trip to Tibet was aborted when, following an anti-Chinese demonstration by American students, the route to Base Camp was closed and foreign tourists turned back to the Nepalese Border. I returned with David Hempleman-Adams the following October and this time reached Base Camp

The summit was set against a clear blue sky and however fantastic I imagined it to be it was so much more. I drew frenetically to capture every detail of the mountain - every ridge and crevice. It is such a well known image that I knew I had to get the topography right. As the sun went lower on the horizon the glistening slopes were bathed in golden light, with the ridges casting deep blue shadows into the valleys.

I was fascinated by the prayer flags placed there by the Sherpas and climbers. These are colourful panels of cloth containing texts and prayers which the Tibetans believe will be blown by the wind towards Mount Qomolangma - the ancient Tibetan name for Everest.

Drawing for Yaks in the Himalayas Drawing for Yaks in the Himalayas
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