Monday, October 3, 2011

South Dakota

The glacial moraine prairie geology of north eastern South Dakota was formed 20 thousand years ago, by the last North American glacier moving in fits and starts through the region. I set my easel up on the roadside and wasted no time trying to get this glacially formed lake down on paper; a piece of hand-tinted and mounted Wallis. As I raced the setting sun for this picture I enjoyed chatting with a bicycling local banker and his wife and daughter on one of the finer evenings of a lifetime. Then it was back to the Buffalo Wallow Bar and Cafe in Sisseton, SD.

North Dakota

Driving 300 miles is nothing to me, but for my companion (husband) I knew I'd be stretching his patience if I tried to cram too many high mileage days together. Therefore I chose to explore the Sheyenne National Grasslands in south eastern North Dakota. It was a perfect day for plein air painting...not much wind nor many bugs...70's and sunshine...fall foliage in trees and grasses. It doesn't get any better than that! This is a place I want to get back to, if only to give my husband a longer time to explore afoot with camera, while I paint more scenes. This is another 9 x 12 and it is on piece of mounted Wallis paper.


Visiting friends and family, I chose this view of the industrial side of the Port of Duluth. I like the open expanse of the sky. In the east we often have "keyholes" that pass for sky....most of it being hidden by trees or tall buildings, so when I go west I spend several days being thrilled by so much sky! I am also drawn to the simple, yet interesting shapes of grain elevators and railroad yard buildings. This Sunday afternoon painting has a calm utilitarian color scheme. It is 9 x 12 and was made with the constraints of my airplane travel sized pastel selection and easel box. It is on a grey piece of Richeson board.

Some of you have asked how I choose my subjects. I would have to answer, "by the seat of my pants." Several factors influence my choices; time, light and personal preference. I don't look for iconic subjects...this project is not about painting all 50 state capitol buildings...or prettiest lakes, or tallest mountains. It is more about challenging myself to be able to find a subject and make a painting that interests me, sometimes on the spur of the moment, often before the sun sets and sometimes before I have to catch my plane. Working on deadline most of my life, in free-lance illustration, has equipped me with the ability to work under pressure. I enjoy a challenge.