Painting Pikes Peak for Live Charity Art and Sale Show, August 28

J"Purple Mountain Majesty", original oil painting (9" x 12"), by Elizabeth (Betty) Moore

Just finished "Purple Mountain Majesty", inspired by my photo of Pikes Peak. Bob and I were traveling through Colorado Springs several years ago to attend my family reunion at The Nature Place near Florissant, Colorado.

The early morning sun lit the 14,115-foot summit rising high over the green foothills. In researching the history of this striking landmark, I learned it has been recognized by many cultures who have inhabited the area through the centuries. The Colorado Mountain Ute people named it Tava, meaning "Sun Mountain." The Arapaho people named the mountain Heey-otoyoo, or "The Long Mountain."

In the 1700s, the Spanish explorers named it "El Capitan," because it was the most prominent peak of all the Front Range. In 1806, an explorer named Zebulon Pike was on an expedition into the newly purchased Louisiana Territory. Although he tried and failed to climb it, there are entries in his journal as "Highest Peak." 

During Colorado's gold rush of 1859, the newspapers began referring to it as "Pike's Peak". Thus was born the popular slogan, "Pike's Peak or Bust." The name Pikes Peak without the apostrophe became official in 1890. Wouldn't this make a great trivia question?

I named my painting, "Purple Mountain Majesty," as a salute to Katharine Lee Bates, the young English professor at Wellesley College, who wrote the lyrics to "America the Beautiful," based on her experience while staying at the original Antler Hotel in Colorado Springs.

I found myself humming that tune quite often as I worked on this 9" x 12" oil painting on linen board, which will be framed for my next Charity Art Show and Sale to Benefit MS. The Facebook show will take place, 7 pm (CST), Friday, August 28.