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Saturday, January 23, 2016

On Ice

We've had a very mild winter until mid-January when an artic blast finally hit and created a small ice shelf at Lake Michigan.  After a few brutal days of sub-zero temps, my painting buddy Lynn and I were finally able to venture out.  It was still so cold that morning that my good camera froze in my backpack....good thing I had my cell phone to capture this image. (Jan. 13, 2016)
First "lakescape" painting of 2016.
Happy winter painter, that's me!
The next day (Jan.14) we hiked back to the lake, along the shores of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and found most of the ice had disappeared overnight.  But there is always something of interest like these cool mini ice caves with sand, rocks, ice formations that look like frozen fangs.  We also noticed a big freighter out on the lake, probably not too common for the middle of Jan in the Upper Midwest.

After exploring, finally got down to business and did a quick painting.  Sky colors changing so rapidly, but was able to capture the beautiful peach/lavender effect of early morning light.
Lakescape, Jan. 14, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ever feel like the Michelin Man?

Layer upon layer.  It's true, a determined spirit is required for this winter plein air painting business.  I have a system for these winter clothes are placed in a back hallway closet ready to go at all times so I'm not wasting time finding long underwear, turtlenecks, smartwool socks, etc.  Same clothes all the time....boring, but very functional. 
Once I'm out the door I can barely move and feel like the Michelin Man.  These essential layers of clothing are so important for winter plein air.  I'll gladly take the appearance of the Michelin Man for a few hours while painting the winter landscape. 
Work in Progress, 12 x 12, oil

The winter plein air glamour look (aka Michelin Man)

On this day, I somehow left the house without my big black jacket.  Good thing I always keep an extra jacket in my plein air mobile.
Hope you are enjoying the beauty of winter in Wisconsin. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Snow, New Year!

The recent blast of snow created a childlike excitement for me with thoughts of heading outside to paint. 
The white blanket covered all the mud and muted browns to unveil all new painting possibilities.  My first winter paint out was back in late November (2015) at my friend Wendie's house, following a plein air event planning meeting.  It's true....what do plein air painters do after they sit inside and plan an event?  They get out to paint in it.  That was a fun afternoon with the sun providing rich light and shadow along the creek.
"A Spark of Sun" oil, 8 x 10
We headed back to Creekside Valley Farm after the most recent snow to paint early one morning.  The snow lingered most of the morning and when that happens, it creates a texture in the paint that makes it very difficult.  The paint turns to a sandpaper like quality.  But I was happy to quickly captures these pygmy goats on canvas.
Pygmy Goats

Almost finished, 6 x 8
The next day we ventured to another beautiful farm just up the road.  The atmosphere was stunning.  Heading back today for another shot in the sunshine. 
Work in progress
Hope you have a healthy, happy and creative New Year!!!  See you in the SNOW.