Burro and Starbucks

Burro likes coffee

Burro and Starbucks, Oil on Canvas, 8×10

This cute little burro’s name is Jennie.  She is one of the denizens of a hobby farm, where my daughter exercises horses as one of her jobs.  The farm is located in the beautiful hills surrounding Spring Green, WI and is the setting for several of my paintings this year.  Besides horses, there are goats, a Pot-Bellied Pig, chickens and a French Bulldog.

A week or so ago, my daughter texted me that there was a woman plein-air painting in Mineral Point (at Pendarvis) when it was 13 degrees out.  Alas!  I so would like to do that, but have the challenge of almost zero circulation in my fingers and toes once they become cold.  Winter is really about the most scenic season for landscape paintings.  There is the high contrast between the snow and the trees, the violet and blue shadows.  Streams may have snow shoals in them, a  mist rising from the warmer water,  patches of green showing along the banks in spring. I love winter landscapes.  However, being out in cold weather for me entails vigorous exercise, as on cross-country skis or snow shoes, not standing 6 inches deep in snow with a wind blowing against my head.

I’ve thought about getting a van, not a minivan full of comfortable seats, but one with “french” doors on the end, wherein I could set up an easel and chair.  I’d be out of the wind and try to sidle the vehicle hindermost to the view.  Every now and then I could clamber behind the steering wheel and start the engine for warmth.  I do have a pickup.  I could try some tailgate painting, but it wouldn’t be as comfortable.   I’d still need a source of heat though, so I must give that additional thought.

Many great landscape artists painted in their studios from sketches and studies, using their memories and familiarity with the outdoors to inform their works.  I’m afraid that, at the moment, is my method,….until I get that “plein-air” van.  (I’ve also thought of a portable ice-fisherman’s hut.)