The winter palette here in the Willamette Valley is cold, but not quite as cold as up in the Cascades. After painting snow scenes featuring lots of purples and blues during the last week of 2015, on New Year’s Day I stayed a little closer to home and hiked one of my favorite trails up on Bald Hill.
Downhill in the fields, hedgerows and plow furrows are grey-gold and brown-green, and the metal roofs of the fairground barns reflect like tinfoil. The Three Sisters glitter on the horizon, which I stretched into an exaggerated curve. The sky was impossibly blue… but no matter how hard I tried to make that blue echo the curve of the horizon, it persisted flat and monochromatic and my brush strokes seemed intent on melting into each other – too much water? not enough paint?
Higher up the trail, branches reach out, gnarled and arthritic, aching joints bare to the winds, like my fingers…forgot my gloves again. The ancient oak at the foot of the hill shows the devastation of the last few years, with only a huge scar to show where half its trunk used to lean out over the trail. Brrr. The trunk now lies in chunks, chain-sawed and pushed off to the side of the trail… it sure would make great firewood, but it must remain to fulfill its destiny and return to the soil, slowly, slowly…
The perfect prelude to a cup of hot tea and a nap with the cat.
Technique – quick placement sketch in pencil, black ink (.03 prismacolor), watercolor, Pentel brush pen, more watercolor, colored pencil, Signo white hilites