Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wood Road and Snowdrops!

Yesterday turned into a very special day. After returning from the painful & mundane (physical therapy and grocery shopping), I decided to seize the 60+ degree afternoon for my first plein air painting of the year. The light was rather flat, but I liked the way the sky matched the earth in value and hue and subtle pattern. I grabbed my gear and drove a couple miles outside of Montrose to a favorite wetland area. The usually soggy and precipitous road shoulder was still frozen which made setting up the portable studio (Prius and half box french easel) a snap. Look,ma,no gloves! During the hour and a half I was there only three vehicles passed me and one was a good friend that I hardly ever get to see.

I used a sheet of UArt #500 and a jumbled up box of soft pastel bits. This image shows my work for the day. I think the foreground needs some strokes to complete it and as soon as I am inspired to see what those are and where they should go I'll finish it and add it to the growing Transitions series.

As if that was not a wonderful enough afternoon, I spot the welcome sight of spring bulbs along my front walk. Galanthus nivalis. They are called snowdrops for good reason. They are weeks earlier than crocus. They are cheap to buy and clump quickly. They only come in white. I know there are hundreds more under the snowbanks waiting for more melting. Alas, this morning they have disappeared under a fresh coating. They'll be back...they have the toough alpine spirit except they can even tolerate frozen puddles of poor drainage. Get some. Have HOPE at a time when we in the frozen tundra need it most.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lewis Road

Yellow is a color that is found seldom in the background of a landscape. It disappears as it recedes into the distance. Most painters have struggled with trying to make a distant sunlit hillside of yellow fall foliage behave and take its place in the background. There are several ways to deal with the problem. In this painting I have used diminishing parallels (the lines in and on the side of the road) to tell the viewer that those trees catching the warm afternoon rays are the farthest object away from us on the land in this picture. That the moon and clouds are further away is something we all know and don't need convincing of, even if they are sometimes yellow. This is one of the paintings in the Transitions series.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Ground Hog Day in Vermont

No woodchuck saw his shadow this year...and many of us in the NE are ready for a hint of spring. So we are reassured that spring will come early. I spent the day looking out on two of my garden trees....sort of an incongruous, artless pairing. They are of a similar size; a black cherry and a paper birch. They appear to be growing away from each other like the north poles of magnets...likes repel. The day was full of heavy snowfall, but we did not get the 30" predicted...around 12", I think, which makes over 36" on the ground in southern Vermont. It was tough shoveling to stock the bird feeders. The snow blower is in Pennsylvania.

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