Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"First Snow, November 12, 2013", oil on panel, 16" x 12", c. Charlene Marsh

First measurable snow of the year!

Okay, we didn't get much but enough to cover the ground.  I had the farrier coming at 1:30 p.m. so I rushed out into the forest in the morning to get a painting done before the snow melted.  The sun was out so it was quick work before the snow melted.  This fall, the colors went from green to gold to rust, with no reds.  A few trees still had green/gold leaves!  One tree lost all it's green/gold leaves after the snow fell so there was a blanket of these leaves on top of the snow!  Very surreal. The snow painting has a hint of fall underneath the snow.

I got back in time to meet the farrier only to learn he was running late.  Darin and Allie, his assistant, arrived shortly and trimmed both horses quickly.  The ponies stand perfectly in their stalls and don't even need a halter!   My mare, Missy, Meegy's mother, is 31+ years old and blind in one eye.  Darin commented that POAs (Ponies of America) and Appaloosa's(that are bred into POAs) are notorious for going blind.  Missy and Meegy are both POAs.  I am going to have to keep a close eye on her to make sure her other eye is good.  I've had Missy for eighteen years now and, along with her son, I am hoping she can continue to do well in her familiar surroundings.  

I have never used a blanket on her but am thinking it may be time.  Tonight temperatures are due to drop to 18 degrees and I am worried about her.  I spent much of yesterday winterizing the property putting away glass sculptures, birdbaths, garden fountains, hoses and digging up a new iris bed.  Also had to bury a dead possum I found next to one of the gardens.  I also put out the heaters in the horse water trough and goldfish pool.  But I forgot about covering the two windows in the barn where the horses come and go and eat.  I'll have to do that tomorrow. 

Anyway, I'll be posting all the new paintings soon.  I have worked really hard to capture the changing fall colors and hope to post a progression of the change.  The snow painting caps the end of fall.                                                                                      

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Treasures from the Forest

Today, my chimney man came to clean the wood stove and stove pipe.  He measured how dry is my wood and declared it the best he had ever seen measuring 14-16% moisture.  He said it doesn't get better than that.  I try to stay a year ahead of the wood so it has time to "season" and dry.  Burns much more efficiently!  He also installed a screen to the cap to keep out birds.  I had two bluebirds fly into the stove pipe and die in the fire box last spring and I didn't want that to happen again!  

I have been painting en plein air like a madwoman every day.  Backpacking a heavy pack into the forest, up and down the hills, can be a real challenge.  Especially given a sledding accident back in 2007 where I slammed into a tree at about fifty miles per hour, smashing my back.  For a few moments, with my face in the snow unable to catch my breath, I honestly thought that was the end of the trail, literally!  But I was finally able to get a breath and lift up out of the snow.  Everything, while in extreme pain, seemed to be working.  Working enough to walk a mile home through the snow.  

Anywho, I have been backpacking out into the forest every day to paint the fall colors.  We are having a very late fall this year.  Normally, the colors are over and done by the end of October and, certainly, no later than November 4.  Usually, my last plein air fall painting is done on the 28th and then a storm comes through to knock down all the leaves and the trees are bare.  There will still be lots of beautiful rusts and purple colors but the bright, fall colors are over.  This year, the colors weren't even starting to change until mid-0ctober and not peaking until the end of the month!  This year, golds and rusts dominate and there are not so many reds.  But I love painting all the shades of gold!  

Since the fall colors are only here for about three weeks, I cannot miss a single day of painting!  Hence, painting like crazy every day!  But, today, the afternoon got later and the shadows grew longer by the time the chimney man finished and left.  My back was sore and I was generally tired all over from going out every day of the past two weeks with a heavy pack.  I decided to just hike my trail and scout out painting locations and enjoy just being in the forest, sans pack and paint.  

Along the way, I found a nest fallen from a tree along the ridge top and then an old deer skull along the creek.  When I got back to my property, I used the apple picker with it's ten foot long handle to pick a hat full of apples.  The tree has been most productive this year.  I stop nearly every day to pick a handful of apples to enjoy, fresh and cold.  Sometimes I pick a bag full to save for later.  They may not be pretty but they are organic, bug free, and very tasty!  The hawk feather I found a couple days ago along the trail.  That'll look great tucked in the band of a hat.  The geodes and crinoids are from earlier expeditions.  

Walking and painting in the forest is my passion and my addiction.  I feel so much peace in the forest.  A day is simply not complete until I have spent time in the woods, along the creek, amongst the hills and cradled in the hollers.