Winter can be a challenging time for those of us who like painting outdoors. The most hardy souls can always be found heavily bundled up and happily working in punishing conditions. The rest of us wait for the right day, say, when it is above freezing, to go out and enjoy the wonderful winter light and colors. If you have never tried this, we encourage you to invest in a little bit of winter painting clothing and insulated boots, and get out there! You will find that as you begin to really concentrate on your subject, you will forget the cold and begin to enjoy all the charms that a sunny winter day can offer. You will be among the elite few who are working outside in the winter for the sheer enjoyment of it.
|Tinker Place by T. C. Steele, 1891.|
If you can get out to the country – even better, for you will begin to notice the interesting changes in the flora and fauna which happen in the winter. If there is some snow, you may find evidence of the animal activities that generally go on unseen around us. We have had bobcats and even pumas occasionally on our property, but seeing one of these elusive creatures is rare. In the winter, though, I can find their tracks, and when I do I feel that all is well again. We may also find the little secret pathways that small animals use to get back and forth from their favorite feeding places. If we are really lucky, we might discover the tracks of a Great Blue Heron around the edges of a frozen pond, and while tracing them, be startled as she suddenly takes flight right in front of us.
Moments like this make all the effort worthwhile and warm us inside out.
Winter is also a quiet season. The few birds who winter over are all the more noticeable for their chattering and industrious work thrashing the leaves for seeds. Because we provide food, water and habitat for them in the winter, we have bluebirds, cardinals, finches, sparrows, woodpeckers, juncos, jays and robins to enjoy. These all add their voices to the sound track of winter painting on the property and remind us that life goes on even in the dark of the year encouraging us to get out of our studios and embrace the world outside.
To learn more about T. C. Steele and the Indiana Impressionists, members can read the article The Impressionists of Indiana – The Hoosier Group.
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–John and Ann