From climbs that take your breath away to the iconic silhouette of Camel’s Hump, the Long Trail inspires artists as well as hikers — and has done so for more than 100 years. The artists profiled below substantiate their love of and inspiration from the Green Mountains on paper – and in the metal working studio, the 3D-printer, and more.
Looking for unique gifts from small business owners and creators this holiday season? Look no further.
This article was originally published in the Winter Long Trail News, out soon.
Kati Christoffel, Watercolor Wanderer
Kati is no stranger to these pages or to the Green Mountain Club. She just wrapped up her third year as a site caretaker, and we have previously interviewed her about her trailside water colors. She’s taught painting classes to GMC audiences both virtually and in person, and regularly shares unique views of the Long Trail’s favorite sights, in all seasons and weather.
“I love making art ‘en plein air,’ a French art term for ‘outside.’ Being right on the mountain allows me to play and react to changing conditions in real time. Watercolor is lightweight, small, and dries quickly, the perfect medium for hiking!”
Her original paintings start at $50, and you can buy on Etsy; at the Artist in Residence Gallery in St. Alban’s; and at a variety of markets and craft fairs.
Zarabeth Duell, MTN GRL Studio
Zarabeth lives in Lincoln with her family, and is an avid consumer of Long Trail history. Her art takes many forms, but linocut and screen printed posters like “Shelters of the Long Trail,” featuring original sketches of 12 popular LT shelters, are her most popular.
“With all my art, regardless of the medium, I try to elicit the feeling you get when hiking. The stacks of mountains fading into the sky, or the scent of that rich alpine forest when the sun warms it up just right.”
Stickers and postcards go for under $10; posters are under $50. Original work, including hand-cut topographic maps and more, range from $200 to $700.
Nika is no stranger to the Long Trail, having experienced it as a GMC trail crew member and site caretaker, a Fastest Known Time record holder, and now a GMC Board member. Although she now calls Colorado home, Nika has “worked, built, hiked, run, painted and skied along the Long Trail.”
Nika’s watercolor and ink paintings combine natural scenes with geometric lines and shapes. “There is no way to fully re-create a sunrise dancing across a high ridge or the emotion that comes from being present for a miracle, or the gratitude for having an unforgettable conversation, but I strive to bring parts of that energy into my work.”
Browse or purchase Nika’s work on her website, nikameyers.com, or at galleries in Aspen, Colorado.
Rob Mullen, Paint and Paddle Studio
Rob Mullen grew up hiking sections of the LT, and did a thru-hike in fall 2020, painting all the way. He turned his hike into a fundraiser for both the Vermont Wildlife Coalition and GMC, donating $713 from 18 paintings sold.
“I paint [everything from bugs to bears,] and landscapes,” Rob explains of his acrylic and oil paintings. He has a science background, including a B.S. in biology, so elements of natural history often rise to the surface in his work. Landscapes painted in the field often strike a more impressionistic tone, simply because of the limited time available for painting them.
Browse and Buy: Paintings retail for roughly $10 per square inch, and are available on Rob’s website, robmullen.com
Sarah Beal, Common Deer
Sarah is a cofounder and the owner of the downtown Burlington curio shop Common Deer, which features many Vermont makers. A signature print from the store was created by Sarah herself. The “Mountains of Vermont” features pen-drawn silhouettes of about 100 Vermont peaks placed geographically correctly.
“This artwork had been stuck in my head for a long time, as inspired by [the band] Joy Division’s unknown pleasures album cover. Creating the silhouettes from photos of the 100-plus peaks in the piece was challenging.”
You can get the print as a poster, print, t-shirt, tote bag, and more at Common Deer in downtown Burlington or commondeer.com.
Cindy is a lifelong Vermonter, an LT hiker, and an artist. She’s also a longtime GMC volunteer who runs the Barnes Camp Visitor Center in summer and fall, and serves on the GMC Publications Committee.
“My primary medium is pastel, but I use acrylic and oil as well. It really depends on the scene and what I want it to say. My LT art comes from a deeply emotional place, and after taking significant time contemplating my approach…the artistic process unfolds.”
Buy Cindy’s art as originals, or try one of her suncatchers, which is an image of a piece printed on acrylic panels to be hung in windows (starting at $40).
Browse and Buy: Cindygriffithart.com
Matt Parrilla, Ramble Maps
Waterbury-based map artist Matt uses high resolution elevation data to create two dimensional prints of mountains, parks and trails, including the Long Trail. Printed on metal or metallic photo paper, the resulting piece appears three dimensional and is a unique and dynamic representation of the Earth.
He first created his Long Trail map as a gift for a friend who had completed an end-to-end hike. “My wife is halfway through section hiking it herself, and we hope to hike it together someday with our six-month-old son, Henry.”
Maps start at $249, and come ready to hang.
Browse and Buy: ramblemaps.com/long-trail-map
Leah Rogstad, Postal del Camino
Leah hiked the Long Trail this year, and the trail was the perfect subject for one of her playful trail maps depicting landmarks, and featuring details that will be all too familiar for many hikers.
“I grew up three miles from the Long Trail. I decided I wanted to more deeply experience my home state, and decided to ‘walk home’ via the Long Trail this year.
“I like to capture a space through black ink lines and watercolor. I sometimes draw on sight, and other times as a practice of reflection after experiencing a place. My pieces celebrate the details of the places we walk and call home.”
Get Leah’s prints as posters, tea towels, or tote bags, starting at $20.
Anna-Lena LaFountain, art by Anna-Lena
Anna, who lives in Williston, paints acrylic on canvas and aims to transport viewers back to their favorite natural spots.
“Vermont’s green mountains and the Long Trail’s serene landscapes inspired a shift in perspective, emphasizing the importance of nature in people’s lives. The trail represents a reset button amidst life’s chaos, providing moments for clarity and appreciation of the present. My paintings intend to cultivate a sense of peace, allowing individuals to let go of past worries and future uncertainties, emphasizing the magic of the present moment.”
Prices vary based on artwork size and complexity, starting at $20 for notecards, $45 for fine art prints, and $120 and up for commissioned pieces.
Other Artists We Love
Add your favorites in the comments below.