Along with paints and brushes and the like, a select group of artists are adding hiking boots and topographical maps to their studio materials.

The Carbondale-based conservation watchdog nonprofit Wilderness Workshop this year is bringing five artists into the woods through its artist in residence program, drawing applicants from the Roaring Fork Valley, across the U.S. and around the world.

On a recent morning, shortly after dawn, North Carolina painter and Workshop artist in residence Michelle Podgorski set off on a rugged, rarely used trail in the hills above Marble. With a Workshop guide and this reporter in tow, she studied a map in search of a lily-strewn lake and an old Forest Service station.

Arriving at the lake after about an hour, Podgorski sat among sage brush with a watercolor palette and paper. In a morning silence punctuated with the birdsong of swallows and the splash of jumping fish, she made a watercolor stretch of the lake reflecting in its water a mountainside pocked with aspen and pine groves.

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