Sunday, November 30, 2014

Recent Awards:

I am pleased to report that I was awarded Renner First Place 2-D at the Park Forest Art Show in Park Forest, Illinois, September 20-21, 2014.  The award was for the entire body of work in my booth, not just one specific piece.  The Park Forest Art Fair is the second oldest show in the Chicagoland area in a very special community.  The organizers were wonderful and the show a pleasure to do!  Thanks Park Forest!  I am truly honored.

I am also thrilled to announce that I was awarded the Third Place Prize for the plein air, snow painting entitled, "Hazy Snowy Day, February 18, 2014" in the Juried Member Exhibition for the Indiana Plein Air Painters Association held at the Hoosier Salon Gallery, 22 Rangeline Road in Carmel, Indiana, on exhibit from November 8  through December 7, 2014, so there is still time to catch the show.  The juror, Tom Post of Cincinnati, selected 100 plein air paintings by 47 artists to be included in the exhibition.  IPAPA is one of the largest plein air organizations in the country with lots of great talent so I am humbled and honored to not only have three paintings in the exhibit but to win an award!  The reception was packed with people so it was hard to see the artwork.  I need to run up to Carmel to pick up frames sometime soon so will drop by the show again to actually see the paintings this time.

Here is the award winning painting:
"Hazy Snowy Day, February 18, 2014", oil on panel, 16" x 20", by Charlene Marsh

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving and the miracle in losses.

Sometimes miracles happen when you least expect it.  Sometimes they happen and you don't even know it...until later. 

Meegy in his last hours.

I wrote this in my e-newsletter dated October 7, 2014(Scroll down for updates): 

"As you may remember from my last e-newsletter, my adult size Shetland pony(my pet term for the ponies), Amigo(Meegy) had been very ill most of the summer and, sadly, had to be euthanzied on August 29, 2014.  I wrote a blog about him here.  I ran into one of his original owners(who had purchased his mother, Missy, when she was pregnant with him) about ten days later and broke the heart wrenching news to her and we both cried standing there in the produce section of Bloomingfoods.  Another ten days later, as I was pulling out of the driveway to head to a show in Chicago, I checked the mailbox and pulled out a plastic bag full of pictures with his sweet face on top.  Thunderstruck, I started crying all over again.  I couldn't look through the packet because I was already running late and knew I could spend an hour looking at them so I tucked them in my luggage to review later, in the hotel.  Later that evening, I carefully looked through the 30 odd pictures, mostly taken when he was a baby colt, before I adopted him, and a few from a visit after I had brought both Meegy and Missy home.  I must have looked at those pictures a dozen times over the weekend and vacillated from pure joy to pure tears and back again within minutes.  I still have Missy who is now 32 and blind.  She seems a bit disoriented without Meegy to help guide her.  I have to call her several times when I head to the barn as she doesn't seem to hear me at first.  Instead of two whinnies, there is only one.  His stall in the barn is empty.  There is a big hole in my heart and his mother, Missy's, heart."
Meegy and Missy in 2010.

One Miracle
Well, there is an additional twist to the story.   The original co-owner I ran into and to whom I told about Meegy's passing is named Suzanne and I sent Suzanne a thank you note via USPS mail(yes, some of us still mail letters), thinking she had dropped off the photographs of my beloved pony after she ran into me and heard he had died.  Then, just a couple of days ago, I ran into Jane, the other original co-owner, and asked if she had heard about Meegy.  She said "yes", that Suzanne had texted her after she got my thank you note and had asked if Jane had dropped off the pictures because she, Suzanne, had not!  At first I did not understand and kept asking, "Yeah, but who told you he had died?" thinking that is why she dropped off the pictures.  

As it turns out, when Jane dropped off those pictures, she did not know Meegy had just recently died!   She had those pictures for nearly twenty years and dropped them off to me within 2-3 weeks of his death, without even knowing he was gone.  When it hit me, I cried again and so did Jane.  I marvel at the magical, perfect timing of almighty God.  Those pictures meant more to me at the time I received them than if they had come years earlier. I relished each one as I looked through them over and over, remembering all the wonderful times we shared from the time he was a baby to the time of his death. 

Another Miracle
This reminds me of another magical, synchronistic connection about twenty years ago when I used to teach oil painting at the John Waldron Art Center in Bloomington, Indiana.  I was working on updating my student roster contact information and came across the name of an older gentleman who had taken my class over a period of several years.  He had quit coming to class and I had heard he got cancer and subsequently died.  Simply tossing out his name seemed so cold and a little voice told me to send his widow a note.  

So I wrote to her about how much I enjoyed him in my class, how much I enjoyed his lovely paintings, even citing one in particular, a still life with lots of golds and blues, and about how sorry I was to hear of his passing.  I dropped the note in the mail and forgot about it.  

A week or so later, I got a note back in the mail from her telling me about the day my note arrived.  She wrote about how she woke up that morning all depressed and ready for a sad day of crying and loneliness and feeling sorry for herself. You see, that day was their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary and the first one with him gone.  She dreaded the day without him.  Then my letter arrived.  And she said when she opened and read that letter, it turned her day around to one of absolute joy and happiness.  I tear up a little every time I think about it - what perfect timing! - and the small part I played in God's magical plan to bring happiness to another and let her know she was remembered and special. And her husband was safe in the arms of God.

May God's mercy and blessings be upon you.  We need to be grateful every day for everything we have.  At this time when we focus on Thanksgiving, let us be thankful every day for our family, our friends, our homes, our automobile, the clothes we have, the food we eat, the sun and the rain.  And all the miracles that abound around us every day.  Pay attention to God's voice and do what He says.  You will never be sorry.  And know that even when things look bleak and dire, you are special and loved by God.

Monday, September 1, 2014

R.I.P.  Amigo(Meegy) Marsh
April 28, 1995 - August 29, 2014

My beloved pony, Meegy, passed over to heaven last Friday and I am left brokenhearted. 

I first saw Meegy as a baby colt, just a few days old.  Friends had acquired his mother, Missy, who was pregnant, and they needed to find a good home for the coming baby.  Having recently lost a horse, I was open to the idea of adopting him and, when he was five months old and weaned from his momma, I brought him home.  A year later, I brought Missy, his mother, home, too.  I wondered if they would remember each other and when she was unloaded into the pasture, the first thing he tried to do was nurse!   So funny seeing this full grown horse trying to nurse from his mother.  And she would have none of it!  

Both ponies were the Ponies of America (POA) breed, bred from Shetlands, Appaloosas, Arabians, Welsh ponies, and any other small horse or pony with a pleasant disposition.  Meggy's daddy was a mustang.  The POA breed was defined by the markings and size and evolved into a good natured horse safe for children.  I call them my "adult size Shetland ponies" and they were the absolute perfect size for me.  Not too big and not too small.  They are easy to train and easy to be around. 

Having never trained a horse before, I was diligent about studying various training techniques, taking seminars, and working with him regularly doing lots of ground work for the first two years until he was old enough to start training under saddle.  I primarily used John Lyons gentle, round pen techniques and Linda Tellington Jones' TTouch techniques.  There was no "breaking him to ride" but, rather, "starting him to ride".  And he loved every minute!

I was most interested in trail riding since I live next door to Yellowwood State Forest that is laced with miles and miles of horse trails.  I could ride out the front gate and hit the trails without trailering the horses anywhere.  With both Missy(who was already well trained) and Meegy, I had two wonderful, gentle, trail horses and spent many days riding with neighbors and family.  Every weekend and often on Wednesdays(it was addictive), I would be in the woods with the horses riding fifteen mile long trails before heading home.  This was one of the happiest times of my life.

Sadly, Meegy was diagnosed with Cushings a few years ago and developed laminitis.  This latest bout just got worse and worse and it became clear he was in big trouble.  My farrier, Darin Griffith, came out around noon and called a relatively new vet(five years out of school), Dr. Grant Minnemeyer, who could come out that day.  I was very impressed with him.  Despite having consulted three vets prior, Grant was the first to do a thorough, hands on exam of my pony.  He was calm, compassionate, and explained everything carefully and patiently.

Missy, who is now 32 and blind, kept watch over her son and the last day she would wander over and check on him periodically.  Then, when the vet was ready to give him the final shot, Missy came over and put her muzzle down to Meegy's muzzle while I held his head and he took his final breath.  Missy was with him when he took his first breath and she was with him when he took his last breath.  I marvel at her uncanny intuition to know exactly when the final moments were unfolding and walk over to be with him.  Animals are absolutely amazing and we can learn a lot from them. 

Missy, too, is starting to show signs of Cushings and I have put her on a special medication to, hopefully, mitigate the symptoms.  She is getting lots of extra attention to help her adjust to being a solo horse.  There are a couple cats down at the barn so they can keep her company, too.  Still, the emptiness is painful.  Instead of two whinnies greeting me in the morning, there is only one.  And one empty stall where Meeg would get his meals and stand patiently to have his hooves trimmed, sans halter.

My neighbor, Bob Woods, came out immediately after the vet left to dig a grave and bury my boy.  Bob just turned 82 today (Happy Birthday, Bob!) and is an amazing man.  He did the foundation for my house back on 2000 and has done some other excavating jobs for me through the years.  I remember one time he said he would not be able to make it on a certain appointed day because he had to dig a grave.  Digging graves were always the top priority because "they can't wait any longer".  And sure enough, he came out right away after the vet left (I had given him a heads up earlier in the day after my farrier left) and finished the job just as the sun was dropping below the horizon.  He told me he has had people call him at midnight and he gets up and goes.  It is something that simply must be done immediately.  

I marveled he was still working at age 82 and he said that he had noticed that a lot of guys he graduated with from the local Brown County High School would work someplace 25, 30, 40 years and then retire and do nothing.  He said he noticed that it wouldn't be too long before he was digging their grave!  He said he figures he still enjoys what he is doing so why not keep working.  He has cut back and slowed down but he still gets out there and I see him in his trucks, out and about, all the time.  I know I am very grateful he continues working and serving his neighbors who need him.  

In the end, I am very grateful to everyone who helped me through this difficult time.  I am grateful to those who helped with Meegy directly and those who helped with their thoughts and prayers.  Saying goodbye to a dear, beloved animal is never easy but being surrounded by good people makes it a bit easier.  Thank you to everyone.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

We had a lot of excitement out here on Lanam Ridge Road today!  Day Two of the Memorial Day Weekend Open House and Exhibition started with a large, oak tree out front collapsing at 8:00 a.m. into the road bringing down power and phone lines and totally blocking the road and my neighbor's driveway.  His wife had just left for church a minute before the tree fell!  I am so thankful no one was hurt and that the tree fell away from my house.  The day was clear and calm - no reason for the tree to fall except that it was it's time.

County workers didn't get the road open for another four hours and the power was restored around 3:30 p.m.  The phones lines probably won't be fixed for awhile since AT&T isn't too interested in maintaining landlines.  But one of the guys said they would probably fix this cable because it was affecting so many people.  My cell phone only gets 0-1 bars out here so it is useless.  

But I am here and ready for Day Three of the Open House and Exhibition tomorrow on Monday!

Tree across Lanam Ridge Road.
View from my front yard.
REMC arrives on the scene to assess what needs to be done.
Shredded phone cable.

REMC working on restoring the power lines.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I am back in the studio after another adventure to Texas.  I traveled to Richardson, on the north side of Dallas, this past weekend to exhibit my paintings in the Cottonwood Art Festival, a truly delightful show.  Good art, good patron base, and perfect weather all in a lovely park setting next to a lake.  The organizers had a Hospitality tent with water and snacks for the artists and threw a buffet dinner party on Friday night after set up.  Sunday was sunny and hot but it was a dry heat and felt comfortable to me.  I was surprised that night, back at the hotel, when the news reported a high of 96 degrees!  I thought it was in the low eighties.  

I remembered to take my camera this time and got a few shots at the show. 

Check out this lovely little ballerina:

Wildflowers that welcomed us to the entrance of the park:

Here is the booth with the show tee shirts and lovely flowers and a glass sculpture out front.  The show gave all the exhibitors a voucher for a free tee shirt!  Thanks!  Not many shows do that anymore.

What a perfect spot to showcase one's art!

Good crowds all weekend.  Looks like someone found a painting to take home.

This is my booth at the show.  I adjusted the picture to possibly use as a booth shot in show applications and, since the jury requires anonymity, I covered my name in the sign.

All in all, a most pleasant and fun show to do.  One measure of "pleasant" for me is the level of cigarette smoke and this show had none!  The visitors simply did not smoke.  The only frog in the soup was another exhibitor who was smoking e-cigarettes during set up which would have been fine except that she was using some flavoring or fragrance in it that was a bit nauseating.  Luckily, I didn't smell it during the show and was very relieved.

Well, back to work catching up around the farm and getting ready for the next show! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I am back in the studio after attending the Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival in The Woodlands(Houston), Texas last weekend.  What an adventure!  One highlight of the weekend was selling two oil paintings to Adrian Peterson, the NFL Most Valuable Player for 2013.  He plays for the Minnesota Vikings and, having been raised in Texas, he has a home in The Woodlands in the off season.  He bought the Creme Daffodils painting featured in my last newsletter and a brand new, tulip still life. 
Tulips in a Vase, c. 2014, 12" x 9", oil on panel, by Charlene Marsh, SOLD

The drive home was insane.  Eighteen hours straight – an hour longer than the drive down.  I had to drive through a torrential deluge from Texarkana to north of Memphis (about six hours) and then it settled down to just plain 'ole rain for the next six hours.  The last couple of hours (from the new I-69) was in a heavy, blowing snow.  Yes!  Snow!

The new I-69 has absolutely no services at all and I made sure to gas up near Evansville before turning onto it.  I think there were only two vehicles on the whole route.  The drive from my house to Evansville used to take over three hours on two lane roads but it only took me two hours on the new I-69 which is not even complete yet.  Still two lane roads from Bloomington to the Crane Naval Base where the new I-69 begins.  And, of course, two lanes from my house to Bloomington.

But the scariest part of the trip was in the stretch between Houston and Texarkana on Highway 59 (a four lane road with 75 mph speed limits and driveways with direct access). I was in the northbound passing lane when a semi trailer came across the median, through the grass, and came barreling south, down my lane, aiming for a head on collision!   Of course, I managed to get over before that happened.  I have no idea what happened to cause him to cross the median.  I called 911 and got passed off four times before reaching someone in the right county.  

This is the first time I have been to Texas and it is beautiful!  The wildflowers were all in bloom along the highway and made for a gorgeous drive.  I stayed with a lovely host family in their beautiful home in The Woodlands where a magnolia tree was one week from blooming.  The weather was comfortably, balmy and warm.  Most pleasant.  A wonderful change for the ongoing chilly spring we are having here.  A little rain on Sunday morning did not hamper or slow down the show.  In fact, my sales were best on Sunday!

I am looking forward to returning to Texas to do the Cottonwood Art Show in Dallas in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Great Blue Herons

I had to run into Bloomington today to pick up paintings from the Venue Gallery to take to my next show.  I was sitting at a stoplight near the College Mall when I spotted a Great Blue Heron flying overhead.  Seemed so unusual to spot one over the city like that!  They are so elegant and exotic and very distinctive with their curved neckline and long legs trailing behind.  I always think that seeing one is very auspicious.  Then, while walking in the forest later in the afternoon, I spied another one flying overhead!  Two herons in one day!  Most auspicious! 

The heron is one of my totem animals.  After all, the heron is a wader bird, king of the marsh!  Herons represent self determination and self reliance.  Heron people follow their own path and have a seemingly unstructured life lacking stability and security.  Heron people have a variety of skills that they can call upon and use to their advantage.  Heron people are unique and non-traditional and must listen to their own intuitive understanding to determine their best path rather than listen to "logical" advice from others.  Heron people need a wide range of skills and knowledge to stay interested and engaged.  The world is wide open to be explored!

The legs of the heron symbolize balance and independence as they balance on one thin leg while stalking their prey in shallow and deeper waters.  The heron, a lone hunter, must be able to stand on it's own.  Even though it's legs are thin, they are sturdy enough to support and sustain the heron.

As I prepare to start my show season with my first big show of the year in Houston, Texas next weekend, I take comfort in the message from the herons.  I have butterflies in my stomach as I feel both fear and excitement.  I have never been to Houston, never even been to Texas, and have never been to this show.  So much potential - potential for good and potential for problems.  But the herons remind me that I am up to the task, with the help and grace of God.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Quiet Zone, Green Bank, West Virginia

Thanks to everyone who attended the Spring Open House and Weekend Exhibition last weekend!  The weather was lovely and a great time to get out.  I had a big bouquet of rubrum lilies that filled the studio/gallery with it's fragrant perfume. 

Spring continues to be very late this year.  I've only seen one or two crocuses in bloom.  The daffodils are just starting to push up through the soil and none are in bloom yet.  The temps have only topped seventy degrees once so far this year!  Mostly staying in the thirties, forties, and low fifties.  Yesterday was rainy with a cold, stiff wind and thunder and lightning - just as I was heading out to walk the dogs, of course!  Brrrrr.....

Just got sidetracked with a call from some folks wanting to come visit the studio/gallery.  They found a painting online and wanted to see it in person before purchasing.  I have been working on the online marketing over the winter and it seems to be paying off.  I set up my website in 1997 - I saw the writing on the wall and the direction the wind was blowing - but was then left twiddling my thumbs for the next fifteen years, unable to get any high speed internet out here in the sticks.  

Most people seemed to have no concept that there is NO INTERNET service out here.  Try cable, DSL, wireless, and on and on, they would say.  I tried a satellite company - twice.  Neither time worked.  I tried Verizon wireless multiple times but never got it to work.  I even had a technie friend accuse me of intentionally not "letting" it work and he vowed to get something up and running for me.  Six months later, he gave up and apologized to me, agreeing that nothing would work out here.  

To be honest, I am secretly happy there is no wifi penetrating my organic farm.  I heard of a place called Green Bank, West Virginia that is a "Quiet Zone" where no cell towers or wifi or radio are allowed so as to not interfere with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  They still have phone booths in town.  People are not connected all the time like the rest of the world.  Cell phones simply don't work.  I think I would like Green Bank.  I am beginning to feel like I am the last person on the planet without a smartphone, still using a landline to make and receive calls.  And I really do not want one.  I am not even sure it would work out here but I guess they keep putting up more and more cell towers so it might work by now.  The shows seem to expect the exhibitors to be online 24/7 and send last minute emails I won't get until I arrive back home later in the week. 

Anyway, a new satellite service came out about a year and a half ago and it works beautifully out here!  I LOVE it!  But I am way behind the curve and have been playing catch up ever since.  I guess it would work with a "hotspot" but I really don't want the wireless wifi in my home.  I worry about the effect of all these electromagnetic waves have on the bio-electricmagnetic human body.  I read somewhere once that the trees resonant at the same vibrational frequency as the natural human body.  I think that is why I love being in and painting the woods so much.  Deep in the forest, there are no electromagnetic waves or radiation waves and it just feels so good.  The trees help realign our bodies with our natural frequency.  Even in the house, there is the electric smog and I won't even get started on the smart(dumb)meters.  Save that for another day.

I am afraid that someday - soon - finding that Quiet Zone is going to be impossible short of a trip to Green Bank, West Virgina.  I may be packing my bags. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Woodlands Arts Festival is ranked #3 in the country by so I am thrilled and excited to be invited to participate!   The Woodlands is just north of Houston, Texas so please stop by if you are in the area.  I have never been to Texas so am looking forward to finally visiting the Lone Star State. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Last evening I fed the ponies about 7:30 p.m. and then went out to do some work in the garden next to the barnyard since there was still some daylight and it was a mild, balmy day.  But after a few minutes, Missy, my 31 year old, came out of the barn and was making some odd, squeaking and coughing noises.  I went over to examine her and saw mucus and saliva coming out of her mouth and nose.  She sat down.  Stood up.  She was clearly uncomfortable.  I checked her feed bucket in the barn and saw she had not finished her dinner.  So I immediately went into the house and called the vet.  I was told that she had "choked" as older horses sometimes do, with their food getting stuck in the esophagus.  I have been feeding her Senior Equine and will need to soak it in water from now on.   

The vet said he would come right away but it would still take an hour before he arrived.  In the meantime, I ran an electric line down to the barn and set up a bank of lights so he could see to work on her.  The barn is a good 600 feet back and it took three extension cords.  I used the lights I use in my booth at shows so the barnyard was lit up bright. 

The vet gave her a shot of banamine and then a tranquilizer.  He rammed a long plastic tube down her nose and pumped a gallon of water through her.  The clump choking her was dislodged.  Blood dripped from her nose after he pulled out the tube.  My poor baby!  Her head drooped and her eyes were closed.  But at least she was doing much better. 

I stayed back at the barnyard for another hour putting away the lights and cords and keeping an eye on her.  I didn't get back inside until 11 p.m. when I finally was able to sit down and eat my own dinner.  This morning, Missy was off her feed a bit.  She didn't clean her bowl but I noticed in the past, when having their teeth floated and being tranq'ed, the ponies didn't eat too good for a day or so.  

The hardest part about having animals is when they get old and start declining.  So hard to see a beloved animal start to fail.  Same for people. 

Here is a picture of Missy with her winter coat.  I brushed her out yesterday morning and the fur came off in handfuls.  And she is still shedding!  Her eyes have shrunken because she is now blind and they have atrophied.  Luckily, she has her son to help lead her in the field and she has lived here since 1996 (18 years!) so she knows her way around pretty well.  Still....she bumps into stuff.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Today I got a call from Bob Reiner, the founder of the Shawnee Summer Theatre in Bloomfield, Indiana now going into it's 55th season.  Yep, the founder of a 55 year old organization.  So I paid attention.  He wanted to know if I would be willing to exhibit my paintings in the theater during a two week period where they would be putting on two different plays.  This is a theater that hires professionals to put on a new play every week for the duration of the summer(except for one play that runs for two weeks).  Luminaries such as John Belushi, Ken Kercheval, Leo Bermester, and Marie Masters have all performed in the theater.  

My summer schedule gets pretty hectic with traveling to the art shows, keeping up with the gardens, and, of course, the painting, especially the plein air painting, and I could have easily bowed out saying I was way too busy - because I am.  I will need to select the artwork, pack the paintings, load in the van,  deliver to Bloomfield, and then hang the work.  And do it all in reverse at the close of the show.   I really don't expect to make any sales and there are certainly no awards to be won.  

But I just felt like someone with this kind of vision, drive, and ambition to open this theater in a rural setting and keep it thriving for 55 years was someone pretty special.  And this must be a pretty special theater.  I have heard about it through the years as soon as I landed in Bloomington as a student at Indiana University but, must admit, I have never ventured out to one of their plays.  Bob said there is a very loyal following of people that attend the performances, many coming from Bloomington.  

So I agreed to exhibit my paintings in the theatre during the run of the two plays, "Shawnee Theatre World Famous Melodrama" and "Death of a Salesman", July 17-27, 2014 and hope to take in a performance while I am at it.  Bob had wanted me to exhibit during the kick off shows in June but my schedule is already impossibly hectic and I just couldn't take on one more project in that time period.  

In fact, I was excited to be notified this morning that I have been invited to exhibit in the 59th Annual Boardwalk Art Show in Virginia Beach, Virginia June 12-15, 2014!  I have never done the show before but the reviews indicate it should be a good show for selling paintings.  Reproductions are NOT allowed - originals only - which I really like because I don't do reproductions.  I find "originals only" shows attract people intersted in buying oil paintings NOT merely cheap prints spit out of the computer.  The show runs along the boardwalk with the beach as the backdrop so I am really looking forward to hanging out at the beach on the ocean this summer.  I haven't been to the ocean for awhile!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Well, this post was supposed to publish on Monday, March 10, but for some reason,  I must not be doing the "Schedule" function properly.  Grrrrr....  When I posted the recent blog entry, I saw this one still in "Draft" format, unpublished.  So....I'll publish now.  I don't mean to inundate anyone's Inbox with too many Blog posts in one day!  Sorry!

Monday, March 10, 2014:

The reception at the Venue Gallery was Friday night in Bloomington, Indiana and I loved seeing old friends as well as making some new ones.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by.  The weather was just gorgeous and it was nice to get out and enjoy a taste of spring!  Sorry I forgot to take my camera so I didn't get any pictures from the reception.  I need to get better about that!

While I don't have any pictures from the reception, I do have a picture of a recent painting of some lovely rubrum lilies.  

For details and to purchase, please click here:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Suited up ready to paint!  I have my Kelty backpack and wet panel carrier box.  Snow still on the ground so I have on my snow pants, wool long johns and multiple layers.  I have a large shirt I pull on over my coat once I get out into the field.  I have to be careful not to over dress before hiking out otherwise, I get over heated, sweaty and end up in wet clothes.