Monday, April 18, 2016

Winter into Spring

I have the window open right now, and can hear that sweet sound of spring frogs singing in the stillness. It was a warm and windy day. I got to go on a long walk with my little niece to jump on round bales, check out the trees budding in the orchard, walk through the hay fields looking for birds and looking down gopher holes, and finding the cows. It was a good day.

Here's a little catch-up of some of the paintings I've done over the past month or two, as we've been transitioning from winter into spring.

February 26th. Returned to one of my favorite places to paint the snow, what was left of it, between the trunks of the great old trees that stand on the hillside. The shadows were long and blue, the sunshine warm. I painted quickly, trying to capture the light before it disappeared.
February Among the Trees, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.

 March 11th. Another sprint of a painting - working hard and fast as the wind blew and the sun sank in the west. The bare fields were golden in the evening light, full of texture and subtlety that I couldn't do justice to in the time I had, but which I tried to hint at. This spot has a great view through the neighboring bluffs in the background that always draws my attention. As the wind died down at sunset, the sound of geese rang out as they flew overhead on their way north.
Evening Impression, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.

 March 12th. Orchard time. My little sis worked on her pruning skills, while I worked in paint. Different types of brushwork. It was a hazy sort of day, and I wanted to convey those soft greys and purples I saw in the rows of trees and thick masses of branches and twigs. A birdhouse stood at the end of one row in a clump of dry grasses.
The Birdhouse in the Orchard, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.

March 22nd. A portrait of a tree, its rough bark and the old barbed wire fence that's it's grown right over. A grape vine loops its way into the upper branches. The valley stretches out below. The light was soft through a thin layer of clouds. I painted until sunset.
View from The Point, 12 x 9" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.

March 28th. Another paint and prune day. The sun shone in a clear sky and the shadows were strong and dark. The grass was beginning to grow green on the south-facing slopes. My eye was really drawn to the intricate tangle of twigs against the sky, but I wasn't sure how to best give that impression while working wet into wet oil paint. I tried one way and another. This was the result. Smudged and thick with texture.
Spring-time Shadows, 9 x 12" oil on linen/hardboard.

April 16th. We've had snow since the last painting, but it has long gone, and the pastures are dry and green enough for the cows to have a snack, if not a feast. Painting living, moving creatures is still a huge challenge for me! The trees are budding and beginning to show some color, and the fields are beginning to show more green than brown.
Basking in the Sunshine, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/hardboard.


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