The stormy cold weather has brought a flurry of snow and of creative activities.  For the past 5 days I've walked, sketched and painted outdoors, recorded my encounter with a herd of elk, and just breathed in the crisp winter air.  Today's high temperature was 35 degrees.  After walking around the OIP with my dog Quiller, I took time to make a few line sketches, then in the remaining light made a painting from the front seat of my Rav4.  I liked many things about it -- I mean the painting -- including the clean color, the higher tonal key, and the textures achieved through different methods for applying the gouache paint onto the watercolor paper.  I did a good job of keeping things simple and stopping before it became too complicated.  Tonight I put a mat around it  and took a photo to document the day's work.  It feels right to give myself a pat on the back :-)

The weather tomorrow is forecast to be almost a repeat of today.  As you can see from the sketch below and the snippet of a video, there is so MUCH subject matter in this beautiful spot, and I will be glad to return there tomorrow for another session.  An added bonus is the fact that my dog loves it there too, and he can wear himeself out dodging imaginary foes, herding phantom elk or sneaking mouthfuls of snow (he knows that I don't like him eating too much of it, cause he makes himself sick on it!). 


My sketching skills are evolving nicely.  I've relied almost exclusively on reference photos and memories to make my finished paintings, mostly in my studio.  In spite of what "common wisdom" says about working from photos, I have found them to be a valuable and valid approach for my own artistic development.   BUT the work I've been doing in the last four or five months has been based more from life, and the timing could not be better for me.  I want to document not only the plein air paintings that I make, but the sketching as well, in order to have a way to judge my own progress as an artist.

The subject of the sketch is a distant ridge, from the vantage point of a hilltop very close to where I was when I painted this afternoon:  the difference is, I'm facing 180 degrees in the opposite direction.  That is one of the things I love the most about painting at the OIP -- the 360 degree view!

Finally, here is a video snippet of the pond, showing the brilliance of the day as well as the cold -- BRRRRRR!  I feel so bad for the birds.  But as my acquaintance said (the lady who showed up at the end of my painting session) "Don't worry, the birds are tough!"  That could be said of me too:  I'm a tough old bird.

Good night from beautiful Oakridge Oregon, USA.