Sunday, December 31, 2006

"Overlook -- Kensington Metropark" plein air oil on birch panel -- 9x12"
Michigan's had an unusually balmy winter, with daytime highs in the 40's and 50's, even during this Christmas week. Yesterday morning we had heavy fog to start, and my friends and I had fun painting fog scenes in the horse staging area just east of the park. By lunchtime, the sun had come out -- a rare sight in Michigan in winter. In fact, Michigan's winter skies remind me of the skies of Lima, Peru: a dismal gray most of the time. The TV news at lunch time was showing giant snowstorms out west, interspersed with images of Sadam Hussein's hanging. But here in Michigan, all was calm, all was bright. A day too beautiful to stop painting! I drove to a big overlook on the north end of the park. From this point a person can see for many miles -- all the way to Ann Arbor - or beyond. All the colors this time of year are quite muted, and the sunlight is weak. The few red cedars pop up in the landscape like so many little exclamation points. In winter they take on such interesting colors, from olive greens, bronze -- even to shades of rust and purple. Both the cedars and white pines have needles that die back to shades of honey and rich gold. This was a day I wished could have lasted for a week!