Saturday, October 26, 2013

Charlene Marsh Studio/Gallery sign
Thanks to everyone who attended the October Open House last weekend!  I was humbled and honored that people came from all over the region and as far away as the Saint Louis area to attend.  I have had additional visitors this month who called and came out at their convenience at other times which is just great.  I love visitors to the Studio/Gallery!  Please call first to make sure you don't waste a trip out here and that I am in the gallery when you arrive.  This is my big, plein air painting season to capture the fall colors so I am likely to be out in the woods at any given time.  I am not a nine to fiver, that's for sure!  I was on the Brown County Back Roads Studio Tour one year but found it very difficult and disruptive to my painting schedule.  I tried to set hours that would still allow me to paint but it didn't really work too well.  I think for the artists and artisans who are at work inside their studios all day, the Studio Tour is just great!  But trying to work outside in the woods and still man the studio/gallery didn't work for me.  

Here is a sneak peek at a new painting, still wet, done at that magical bewitching hour of dusk when the colors have an ethereal glow.  The colors last a very short time before it gets too dark to see.  I'm coming home in the dark with a flashlight!  

"Bewitching Hour in Yellowwood Forest, October 18, 2013", Oil on Panel, 16" x 12", c. Charlene Marsh

Stacking wood on a crisp, windy,  fall day.

The big pile of cut and chopped wood has been staring at me for a week now.  I like to get the wood all stacked and under cover before the winter snows blow and since they were blowing just yesterday, I decided I better get to it.  I worked on the pile for three hours or so and got maybe half of it stacked.  I get a bit obsessive about tasks like this and often work until the job is done with no or minimal breaks.  But I still needed to eat some lunch and get out to paint in the woods so I finally stopped even though the job wasn't completely done.  

Note how green the leaves still are on the trees!  I usually finish the last plein air fall painting around October 28 when the colors peak in a brilliant red  and then a storm blows in and knocks them all down.  But this year, the colors are just getting started!  Comparing this year's color to even last year, we are a good 11-14 days behind! 
Getting started.  You can see the unstacked wood dumped behind the growing stack.  Older wood, already stacked, is under the tarps.

Finished for the day.  Time to go paint!  There is a second stack, about half the length,  shaping up behind this one.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

First snowfall of the season!  

This morning started off cold, one of the coldest of the fall season.  Temperatures hovered around forty degrees when I headed back to the barn to feed the ponies and my basil still looks fine so it didn't dip to freezing overnight.  I worked outside around the barn and gardens and woodpile until a cold drizzle turned into a cold rain.  A few minutes ago, I noticed the cold rain had turned to snow!  Too warm to stick but snow nonetheless.  Sometimes big fluffy flakes!  Reminds me of an October snow about twenty years ago when we actually got 8-9" of heavy snow that blanketed the October oranges.  Created very surreal, beautiful colors.  The snow didn't stick around long but long enough I did a lovely painting that was purchased by a close friend. 

First Snow of the Season                                                                                        

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Today I said goodbye to an old friend.  She was probably 70-80+ years old and had passed away this summer.  "She" was a stately, tall, old hickory tree in my backyard next to the studio/gallery.  She provided shade on hot, summer days and let the sun shine in during the chilly, winter months.  

A large top branch broke off last spring and my arborist advised me of the options.  We decided to wait and see how she did this year.  Early spring, she sprouted green leaves on the trunk with the most hollow pocks, you know ~ the perfect hollows for nests and woodpeckers.  The solid side didn't have any new green leaves.  Over the course of the summer, despite more rain than the past two, the green leaves turned brown and died.  By July, it was clear that the past two years of drought had taken another victim.  

So Matt and Levi came out today and, using climbing gear and ropes and pulleys, brought her down.  First the lateral branches.  Then one large trunk.  Then the last, largest trunk with a few laterals that could not be trimmed.  She came down with a roaring crash and thump that rocked the earth.  An awesome sight to see and hear.  Matt's skills guided the fall so that it narrowly missed my zinnias and bed of peppers.  Not one broken plant!  

Old Hickory will serve one final purpose:  she will heat my house as firewood in the wood stove,  providing the cozy warmth only wood can on cold, snowy, winter days.
Old Hickory before being cut.

Skyline looks a lot different without Old Hickory.