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Thunder in the Mountains

Artist:  Zac Kinkade
Painted:  2021
Medium:  Oil on Canvas

Artist’s Notes:

A steady drumbeat echoes through the mountains, louder than the roar of the waterfall that rushes down the ravine through which the pounding sound bounces. A train is passing in the river’s gorge. On it are travelers filled with excitement and a sense of adventure that only a ride on the rails can provide. Creatures of the forest stop to listen and watch while two fishermen cast a line at the water’s edge. It is a scene melding the majesty of indomitable nature and the efforts of humankind to tame it. It is also a visualized moment that speaks to my own sense of wanderlust and is reminiscent of sojourns taken long ago in my childhood.

Thunder in the Mountains is the first painting in the Stories from the Rails collection, a series of oils paying homage to the railroading tradition and what the steam whistle’s call does to the listener’s heart. I hope you will all join me on this journey as I explore the steel ribbon that connects cities and towns to each other and the world’s wild spaces to both. “All aboard!” And thank you for sharing my adventure in art.


  • The P.N.W. Express refers to the Pacific Northwest, where Zac lived and created many of his early published paintings. The landscape portrayed in the background is that of the Rocky Mountains, through which railways run, connecting Zac’s former beloved home to his current residence and studio in Texas.
  • The number 21 on the locomotive engine reference 2021, the year in which Zac painted Thunder in the Mountains.

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