It is believed that since hundreds of artists painted landscape scenes in the 19h century, Homer was trying to bring this out in his sketch. It was a symbol of the love for their region after the 1826 tragedy of the Wiley family. During this time, people lost their lives in the mudslide. This painting portrays a dramatic mountain wilderness. On the sketch are errant rocks, broken stumps, a storm that is seen gathering and artists covering themselves with umbrellas symbolising wildness that evokes desolation. The artists are believed to have travelled from the cities of the northeast to view and capture the scenes. During this time, the white mountains had become a major attraction site.
Homer's Other Paintings
Other similar works by Homer included The Bridle Path, White Mountains, an 1868 oil, canvas painting at the same time as Artists Sketching in the White Mountains. In this painting, a well-dressed young woman is seen riding a side saddle in the White Mountains, along a rocky trail above the tree line. Homer brings out her expression as lost in thought, and she is seen riding alone, away from other riders. One of those riding with her is seen to wave a cloth as if trying to catch her attention. The focus of this painting is the popularity of regional tourism and the rising independence of middle-class women.
The Gulf Stream, an 1899 oil painting, depicts a man with a tiny rudderless fishing boat. He is seen to struggle against the waves of the sea. The interpretation of this painting is opaque and has been described as enigmatic. It is said to focus on the unresolved mysteries of the region. Dressing for the Carnivore is an 1877 oil on canvas painting that invokes the endurance of the African Americans culture. The image shows a Christmas Holiday celebration that was observed by North California and Virginia slaves. The festival is seen to blend American and African traditions. This painting was produced a year after the failure of the officials to reconstruct the withdrawal of the federal troops from the south.
The Bathers, an 1873 wood engraving, was his other highly rated paintings, depicting a beach scene. In the painting are two attractive women in tasteful bathing costumes. The charming figures illustrate the benefit of a costume and the graceful exit from the bath. Other 19th century paintings included the Slaves Ship by J.M.W Tuner, the Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole and The Barque of Dante by Eugene Delacroix.