"Pulling In Winter... Point Traverse, Prince Edward County" - oil on canvas 12x24 inches
A skein of migrating Canada Geese always symbolizes the transition from fall towards winter for me. Their noisy departure strikes a chord of melancholy and loss as the seasons pass.
"Pulling In Winter, Woods Side Road, Oro-Medonte Hills" - oil on canvas 24x30 inches
The loss of virbrant autumn colour in October... replaced by brooding skies... drab earthy colours of meadows and pasturelands...the more sombre and muted russets of oaks and golds of tamarack firs and other softwoods such as aspen and birch are another inland symbol of seasonal change. Gathering rookeries of crows add action and their own musical accompiment to this November novella.
Winter.. it would seem has fully staked his claim in The Thousand Islands region. Bays up and down the St Lawrence are skimmed over with their first ice, driving Canada Geese and mallards from their usual resting and plant-rich feeding areas. A full foot snowfall currently grips the land and the projected weather forecasts strongly suggest that it is here to stay... and with more to follow. Winter's icy reign has begun.
Fortunately, we were ahead of the game in our winter preparations around "Isleview." All garden clean up was out of the way, the car had its winter snows installed and our winter supply of firewood... a huge full face cord lies slit and neatly piled in our now empty Gallery - a strange and somewhat disconcerting, but necessary contrast from the summer scene there. Winter is a game changer... like it or not!
Yesterday was my first winter plein air outing. One's body is never really prepared for those first trips out into the full cold. In spite of all prior preparations and clothing adjustments... the body takes its time to adjust to prolonged work in sub zero conditions. Yesterday was no exception to that rule. However, in spite of the -10C temperature... the sun hung up there all afternoon and there was very little wind to deal with. The snowy cleanness of the landscape... the rich light and shadow at play and the River backdrop made my picture making pleasantly uplifting.
I chose to go out directly to a scenic overlook on the Thousand Islands Parkway just five minutes west of Rockport. That decision meant no walk in was necessary. To the west, the Thousand Islands International Bridge arched across the St Lawrence. Directly below me laid the Canadian Middle Channel and a pair of small islands. The 2:00 pm sun was warm... but definitely rapidly declining. Its rich light and shadow would soon disappear, so I decided on a "tail gate' painting party approach. That means tail gate of my van is open and one leg of my metal easel is stuck (unextended) into the back of my van trunk. The van serves as both a wind break with its lid an overhead roof in snowy weather. The sun was directly at my back and provided both warmth and constant light on my easel and my 10x12 inch toned panel.
My palette had been made ready prior to leaving the house, so within a couple of minutes I was right into my painting. I decided upon a colour block approach using light turpentine staining at first to lay in the basic structure of the scene.I then worked forward from that adding more pigment, paying more attention to values and hues. I finished up with a very small amount of rigger work to fill in some fine line work and called it a day an hour and a bit later. The sketch I feel, does indeed capture the elements of the interplay of a late winter afternoon. It is expressive... of the joy I feel in winter. It also marks a successful beginning for my winter plein air painting season.
"First Snowfall of 2013" - oil on toned panel 10x12 inches
My Friends, if nothing else makes sense to you on the subject of winter... its cold... and my crazy obsession with plein air painting in it, then perhaps these lovely and comforting words from "The Story Girl" written by Elizabeth Maude Montgomery are a high note to end on for today's post.
"The beauty of winter is that it makes you appreciate spring." May the Hope of Spring with her renewal add warmth to your Soul and lives during the long winter months ahead!
Good Painting ... to ALL! Inside ... or out! HA HA!!
Today... November 30th is St Andrew's Day. In my Scottish heritage it is the celebrated birthday of the Patron Saint of Scotland, St. Andrew. Andrew was the name of my beloved Gramp Birrell and was passed to me... and then to my own son Andrew. Coincidently... I wonder... it is also the birthday of my first born child Lisa. So... Happy Birthday Dolly-Dolly-Dumpkins-My-Queen-of-the-Pumpkins.
"I" am with "You" today in love and deep pride... Today and Always!!!