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Waterfalls All Around in Ithaca, NY

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

So, I have a little obsession with waterfalls. Why, do you ask? Well, they are one of Mother Nature's great gifts that actually brings me peace. I hope they will for someone who reads this, as well. Hoping someone will take home one of these paintings, and cherish it for a long time. Sometimes, we cannot all get away when we want to, whether for money or logistical reasons, and a painting of one of your favorite places is a wonderful substitute, to bring you peace. I know painting it is doubly as therapeutic! Water itself just calms me down, but I am also a water sign. Meditating near it brings me instantly to another world, and all the outside chatter just stops. Sound is a huge part of it. I always try to envision all of the senses while I am painting, capturing the energy of the place is very important to me, so this energy can be brought indoors for all to enjoy, no matter what crazy weather is going on at the time. Because let's face it, Mother Nature is kind of having a little tantrum right now, and I don't blame her one bit.

Photograph of Lucifer Falls in NY
Lucifer Falls, Photo by Ally Voner

I took a trip to the Ithaca falls area in New York the end of October, with my sister and her partner from Good Bites and Glass Pints. We stayed at a campground, Robert Treman State Park, including a beautiful Lucifer Falls, glorious all on its own. I remember when we turned the corner through some giant pines, and all of our jaws dropped, it was much larger and more powerful than we imagined. Happening upon it during sunset was a happy accident, so I left all of the photography to my very talented sister, Ally Voner. We worked together to capture the painting I was seeing before my eyes, and know I will start that painting in my next batch of waterfall pieces!

I only stayed in the area a few days, and I saw so many more waterfalls than I expected. My sister asked me to tag along for part of her trip, since she knows how much I love waterfalls, and this is waterfall country! We took a side trip to Watkins Glen State Park, which was a very special place, and it made so much sense why there were many people visiting during the peak of fall. We were scolded by a park ranger at one point for trying to get away from the crowds off the trail, to draw and jam to the ukulele and harmonica, which I suppose did capture a bit of attention! But it was fun while it lasted, relaxing by the water, snacking on some lunch of meat and cheese and hot chocolate. Lunch of champions.

Watkins Glen Photograph in Fall
Watkins Glen, Photo by Ally Voner

Walking through this place was unreal, the cavernous slated rocks towering stories above your head. Now THIS, was a gorge. You could see with your own two eyes, the layers of erosion that the rushing waters had on this fragile rock. The moisture gave way to so much vegetation of mosses, ferns, and shrubbery, the smells and thickness of the cool air was like nothing I've ever experienced. Walking through a dark cavernous walkway, that was really walking underneath a fairly heavy waterfall, was an obvious excitement for all, because there was a patient line walking slowly through it, enjoying every moment. My sister walked back and forth through that, many times, trying to capture its unreal energy. Red, orange, and yellow leaves glittered everywhere over the dark grey rocks.

On my way home from the Finger Lakes region, I couldn't resist stopping at one more spot for a hike, the weather was just too glorious to leave right away, before the 4.5 hour drive back to the Berkshires, where I spent the rest of my fall vacation. I happened upon Buttermilk Falls, which just sounded too yummy to resist. This hike was a lot more private, and since I left Allyson and Chris at the camp, that much more private. It was a very meditative hike, and I ended up doing the whole upper and lower gorge. It was many stairs, as was Watkins Glen, and Lucifer Falls, so by this point, boy were my legs and hip flexors yelling at me! Wearing low healed boots probably wasn't the brightest idea, but there I was. I thought I was driving straight home and my car doesn't have cruise control. Heels save my plantar fasciitis, no joke. And I didn't think I was going to do the entire hike, because my body was so tired and sore. But the enchantment of this area grabs you at your core and pulls you into its magic.

Waterfall painting by Tors Ahht with yellow tree
Buttermilk Falls, Tors AHHT, acrylic on linen, available

Yellow trees shined bright as the sun in front of the dark gray walls, catching the glimmering light in only a few spots. The patterns of the dark rocks formed the shapes of the water, carving into smooth curvy echoes. I finished this painting very quickly, because this one yellow tree I couldn't stop photographing, I was mesmerized. It looked so perfect in that moment, and I knew in a few days time, it probably would be no longer. I happened upon this hike alone just to capture that, and I knew that in the moment. How could I not paint it? The second I got to the Berkshires later that day, I grounded a canvas to start it. When a passion fires into your gut like that, express it as soon as you are able. I go through some periods of not being inspired at all, as I am sure many of you have gone through, these past few years. When you feel that coming back, add something to fuel it, and give it room to grow. Like this beautiful golden yellow tree, nothing lasts forever.

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