April: snowstorms and thaws.
April 4: The snow was deep, but the sun was warm. I headed up toward Menomonie, Wisconsin, to take part in the Arbor Place Plein Air event. My first painting was done on the grounds of the Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park, which I enjoyed exploring before setting up to paint this old smokehouse.
|The Smokehouse, 12 x 9" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 4, 2018|
Late afternoon I returned to this spot by the Red Cedar River to paint the snow and water under the bridge. I just loved the colors.
|Snow on the Red Cedar, 9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 4, 2018|
April 6th: the sun shone, but the wind was cold! My little sister joined me and we painted from the car, first in downtown Menomonie...
|5 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 6, 2018|
...and then a quick paint farther out in the countryside.
|8 x 16" plein air oil on linen/hardboard. April 6, 2018|
April 11th. I went out for a walk in the afternoon. It was a cloudy day and most of the snow had melted. I cut a few twigs off of a pussy willow and brought them indoors to paint. The soft greys of the catkins, with touches of green and pink, and the bright green of the newly cut stem.
|Pussy Willows, alla prima still life, 12 x 10" oil on linen/birch. April 11, 2018|
April 12: I went out to work in the orchard in the afternoon. There is some major cutting of winter damaged trees happening, as well as some regular pruning, and I've been helping to haul branches and brush out from between the rows of trees and piling up some that's been cut for firewood. On this day I brought my easel out with me and tried to paint my impression of the place under an overcast sky. It was still cold and I took breaks in painting to haul more brush and warm myself up!
|8 x 16" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 12, 2018|
April 17: Another snowstorm had come through, covering the land again and blowing the fallen snow into drifts. I went out one morning and painted along a fenceline on a hillside where the drifts were deep, studying all the variations in color on the snow and in the sky above.
|9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 17, 2018|
April 19: The snow was melting again, especially on the top of the hill and where the tractor had plowed through along the field road. Patches of dirt and dry stubble broke up the smooth snow. I painted quickly, trying to capture a little bit of the late light.
|7 x 5" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 19, 2018|
And after the sun went down, I painted another quick study: the blue of the snow, afterglow in the sky, and the distant lights of the neighbors across the valley.
|5 x 7" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 19, 2018|
April 20: My last study of snow: melting drifts along the road. A little scraggly tree with a bird's nest still in its branches. Long, dry grasses, and soft evening light.
|9 x 12" plein air oil on linen/birch. April 20, 2018|
April 29th: This painting was started on location, at the end of a day working in the orchard, but finished later on. It's a bit of a combination of what I observed that night.
|9 x 12" alla prima oil on linen/birch. April 29, 2018 sold|