Monday, January 19, 2009

"Late Afternoon - Four Degrees" -- 8x10" plein air field study -- Margie Guyot

This is right at the entrance to my property, looking east. I'd just returned from a big adventure* and wanted to paint a quickie. I loved the stripe patterns in the snow, created by the late afternoon sun. It was about 4 degrees and I was soaked from my earlier adventure, so I did this as quickly as possible. I love these red pines! Their bark has a sort of reddish tint to it and it was catching rays of the low afternoon sun. In the distance is the ridge that runs in back of my house. It's covered in maple, aspen and a few white pines. I used a size 8 brush to paint this whole thing. No dilly-dallying around in 4 degrees with itty-bitty brushes! Especially when you're already soaked in sweat.

Earlier in the afternoon I'd settled into my studio to continue working on a big still life. The heater was going and I had "Prairie Home Companion" going on the radio. Then a friend called. She wanted to see my studio. Afterwards we decided to take a hike at Antrim Creek Natural Area, one of my favorite places. I threw my paints into my Explorer, thinking I might paint another lake scene.

After weeks of clouds, it was a thrill to see the sun! We'd had about 18" of new snow this week. So we both were excited about getting out for a walk in the woods.

Right as we pulled up to the park entrance, another vehicle pulled up, coming from the opposite direction. The park is never plowed in winter, and the snow looked ominously deep. I waved the other driver through, figuring if he could make it, what the heck -- I'd just follow in his tracks.

We both got stuck! Not at the entrance, but way down in the parking area. Luckily he had a shovel. For the next hour the 4 of us shoveled. We took turns getting stuck, rocking back & forth and finally getting free. We shoveled and shoveled and basically ended up shoveling out the whole driveway all the way back to the road. The other driver pulled out some beers to celebrate our victorious efforts. Truly, it was Miller Time!

Lessons learned:
1) Ford Explorers are wonderful in snow, but they can't manage knee-deep snow
2)Always keep a snow shovel in the vehicle

After I returned home, I was soaked in sweat. But when I saw these blue shadow stripes across the snow, I had to get out the paints. I had some real snow boots in the Explorer, which I put on. By the time I finished this painting, my other boots (which had been totally soaked in sweat and melted snow) were frozen stiff.

I just don't know what got into me yesterday. After finishing painting, I shoveled out the mailbox again. It's a daily chore here. The snow is almost 5' high by the mailbox. Thank goodness for Aleve!

And it's sunny again here today. A miracle! I think I'll just have to go out painting again today. The big still life in the studio needs to dry a little before I can do any more to it. Hasta la vista, baby!

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