Painting in Winter


This is from Saturday.  Tom and I went to Clarksville, MO to watch and photograph eagles (Tom).  I decided to paint while he was working and set up near Lock and Dam 24.  I’m calling this one Big Bad Barge Bumper because I think that’s what it is.  I tried to put one lone eagle way off in the distance, but in reality they were flying and diving all around us.  There were pelicans, too and they were great to watch – such beautiful flyers.  I may add some to the sky flying up and to the right to balance the composition, making a big vee shape with the yellow bumper at the vertex and the other leg being the darker blue area of the river.  I can’t always achieve a finished plein air on site – sometimes I can really improve a painting by thinking about it and making adjustments later.  I never worry about this unless I’m competing in a quick paint or a plein air event.  Then I force myself to think it all through and make my best effort to finish a piece on the spot. This was a difficult painting to work out with the big yellow thing right there in the foreground, but I was drawn to the color and couldn’t resist.  It took about two hours to get this far.  It’s a 9×12 oil on panel.

The painting below is from Sunday at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in St. Charles county, MO.  The view is looking toward the dam.  The dried grasses are beautiful to contemplate especially with the frozen and snow-covered river beyond.  There is an overlook here for bird-watching, which I was advised to omit from the painting (by a very wise and skilled fellow artist).  That’s the Wood River Power Station on the horizon. I’m still tempted to add more branches to the trees.  They look so lovely without their leaves.  If I do that, I’ll post the result (ditto on the pelicans).

The secret to Winter painting is a thermal layer of clothing, warm hat, scarf, insulated boots and glommits (fingerless gloves with fold over mitten tops).  Some artists use those portable hand warmers, too but I usually don’t- then again, I don’t live in Minnesota!


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