February 28 to March 25, 2021
We have been on the road for almost a month now, and this trip is being divided into 2 sections, with the first month for skiing, and the second month for going to the National and State Parks of Utah.
We spent the first two nights in nearby Lyons so that we could meet the renters of our house and get them situated. After that we headed up to Summit County, Colorado and stayed in the only RV winter camping spot at Tiger Run in Breckenridge. The campground was very nice and had some cute tiny homes with good access to the Colorado Trail to hike with Buddy, and close enough to the ski resorts. We spent 3 days skiing at Copper Mountain (our old stomping grounds and the location where Ross and I originally met). It was great to be back there and ski with a few friends. We then continued West and stopped for an afternoon of skiing at Aspen. We were fortunate to have some great snow and warm temps. Continuing farther West, we spent the night in Silt, CO so that I could drop of some art products of at Sopris Alpaca Farms.
While driving on some of our longer sections we were listening to some podcasts and started discussing how to make The Streaming Artist Blog a better website for art followers. So I am going to try and give more art tips and insights to painting. If you have any suggestions or thoughts that you would like me to address, please let me know.
Since the first few weeks of our trip involved a lot of skiing and snow, I thought it might be a good time to discuss painting winter scenes. There are obvious challenges to painting in the winter like being cold. Standing still for a few hours definitely means cold hands and feet. So I generally wear my heavy snow boots and warm socks as well as have some mittens with cut off fingers so that I can wipe paint etc. The cold temperatures also means that the paint tends to dry slower so depending on the affect that I am trying to achieve, it could influence my painting.
One of the important things that I am always trying to work on and instill in my students is to really look at the lighting of the scenes while out in nature. Lighting in reality is very different than in a photo. Try taking a photo outside, and then look at it side by side with the actual scene. You will see that the colors are almost always off, and the shadows show up as completely black. So when I am looking at a snowy scene, I like to look at the snow and see what colors I see. Our brain is trained to think snow is white and shadows are grey/black, but if you look closely you will see blues, violets and colors from surrounding objects reflecting in the snow.
I was hoping to paint a few snow scenes so that I could show you some examples but that never happened so you will just need to trust me on that and try some of my suggestions.
On our way to Salt Lake City we stopped at Huntington State Park and had it all to ourselves. We awoke to a beautiful morning, and the reflections in the thawing lake at Huntington enticed me to paint. I set up my easel and the weather started off so warm that I was painting in short sleeves. Within 30 minutes the winds kicked up, and the reflections in the lake were gone! My whole reason for painting vanished. Within the hour the winds were so strong that I was freezing, holding my easel with one hand while painting with the other hand. Just another reminder of why plein air painting is so difficult. I ultimately decided to pack everything up and head inside to get warm. I’ll have to finish that painting inside at a later date……
The next week or so we spent basing ourselves in Salt Lake City so that we could ski Alta, Brighton and Solitude Mountains. We were fortunate to have a few fresh snow days which made the drive up the canyons so beautiful.
We then moved up to Park City to ski at Deer Valley. We enjoyed the skiing but to be honest with you we don’t love the layout of the mountain since the ski lifts seem to congregate in a few locations and it makes for a scary mess to get into the right line. Buddy and I did have a few great hikes one of which was on the mountain behind our RV spot. The views were great overlooking the valley until Buddy came running up to me with a deer leg in his mouth. I suppose we were in the Deer Valley Area…..but then I realized it also probably meant there was a mountain lion nearby so we hoofed it out of there (no pun intended).
Our final ski destination was Powder Mountain so we based ourselves out of Ogden UT. It is fun to see all these different locations while skiing various mountains. We were fortunate to get in some great skiing while also having warmer weather in the valley below. On a few of our ski days off, we also did some hiking, and played some golf. The backdrop of the mountains made for some breath taking views.
Unfortunately, after a few great hours of skiing some fresh powder at Powder Mountain I had a stupid fall and landed on my right shoulder. Fortunately, it appears it is only a sprain and hopefully I will be able to paint soon.
Very little painting was done on this portion of the trip with the exception of the start of a new dog portrait. It is amazing how quickly days fly by when you walk a dog, ski and then come back to cook, clean up and do a few work items.
Hopefully, our next month in spring weather surrounded by beauty will lead to some more artistic pieces.