Saturday, February 10, 2007

"Country Road" -- plein air oil study -- 12x16" on stretched canvas

The sun was out today but it was about 15 degrees and windy. We'd had a fresh coating of snow overnight and it was like powder. 6 of us "Polar Brush Club" members showed up this morning at Kensington at 8. One of the guys wanted to go paint at a nearby covered bridge. It was on a very narrow road with no parking, so we all jammed ourselves and our gear into 2 vans and drove over. 6 people with Carharts, goosedown, special snowboots and hats, plus all our painting paraphenalia kind of filled up the vans easily. And afterwards there were 6 gooey paintings and 6 gooey palettes, so it was interesting.

Only one or two of us felt the covered bridge was interesting enough to paint. I kept seeing images of Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood in that movie about the star-crossed lovers ("The Bridges of Madison County") and felt I just couldn't stand there and paint such a tear-jerker of a scene. Just a little too much drama for me at that early hour. So I plodded through the snow and up a little hill to find this view. I really liked the sun and shadow patterns in the road. Everybody back on that road had a 4-wheel drive SUV.

Big, puffy clouds were blowing by and sometimes I had to wait a few minutes for the sun to peep out again. This area appeared to be a rabbit haven. Lots of bunny trails in the snow. The nearby bush was casting lots of interesting shadows across the road. This is not a manicured-lawn area, and all the grass was in big clumps, weighted down by the snow to look almost like a field of marshmallows. And there was a surprising amount of color: the red osier dogwoods in the back, warm ochre browns and yellows in the bushes and weeds. The red cedars turn shades of plum-purple in winter. And it seems there is no really white snow. It's either pale blue (reflecting the sky) or pale yellow/gold (reflecting the sun).