Sunday, October 2, 2016


September. A very full month.
My sister, nephews and eldest niece were visiting from the other side of the world, and the time was precious. A lot was packed in, as we have to make the most of the time together, and the days flew by.
I was also preparing for the Driftless Area Art Festival, which took place the 17th and 18th. Two beautiful days, among many rainy ones. (The following weekend the park was under water!) But that weekend was beautiful, and I thank all of you who came out and enjoyed it and made it a great event.
My temporary gallery: my booth at the Driftless Festival.
At the same time, the Between the Bluffs plein air event was taking place in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Since I didn't have a chance to paint the first week, I put in as much easel-time as I could the last few days. The first day, Monday, I painted on the very edge of the designated area, a view of the King's and Queen's Bluffs in Minnesota. They're such recognizable figures, and I always like how the light hits them, as they tower above the highway below.

Driftless Royalty, 9 x 12 inch, plein air oil on linen/hardboard.
It was a day to paint bluffs and clouds. I tried for another quick paint before dark, watching a distant storm in the sky and painting a valley below.
Distant Storm Clouds, 9 x 12 inch, plein air oil on linen/hardboard.

On Tuesday I headed for a county road along the Interstate, to paint a barn I've long admired. That cupola! It's a beauty. The sky was dark to the south and west, which contrasted beautifully with the light on the roof of the barn and the dark outline of a tree in the pasture. The weather moved in, and I got rained on a little before the skies cleared.
Local Color, 9 x 12 inch, oil on linen/hardboard.
Then it was time to paint more clouds and valleys! A friend joined me and we went to the upper Hixon trails in La Crosse. The shadows were long, the light fleeting, the mosquitoes voracious.
Cloud-Watching, Upper Hixon Trails; 9 x 12 inch, plein air oil on linen/hardboard.

Wednesday brought more wet weather, but it cleared for a short time in the afternoon. The creek was swollen and brown with all the rain. I painted the light and shadows quickly, and the sky was already cloudy again as I finished up.
Bridge over Muddy Water, 12 x 9 inch, plein air oil on linen/hardboard.

The next day was the day to frame and turn in three paintings. I took these:
My three in the show!
Saturday morning was the "quick paint" in La Crosse. I almost didn't make it. I left home "early", but not early enough, as unbeknownst to me there was a color run happening downtown, and parking where I thought I was going to park was not an option. I was also not quite sure where I was supposed to be, and I wasn't so sure about braving the clouds of colored dust, so wandered around lugging my gear for awhile until I finally stumbled into the right place. Whew!
Though I had to paint quickly, it was a relaxing place to be: watching the poplar leaves blow in the wind and the river rush by.
My quick-paint, 9 x 12 inch, plein air oil on linen/hardboard.
Saturday night was the public reception. Always fun to see all the new paintings from around the area! I was so pleased to receive an Award of Excellence for my painting "Local Color", and I also won first place for my quick-paint. Two of my paintings are going to new homes, which is the best honor of all. Thank you to everyone who came!