Walk in First Snow Through the Woods

first snow woods photograph

Almost every day, I get to see scenes like this as I walk outside the studio. My camera is a real happy camper. Luckily, I captured this picture during the first snow of the season. There was a small accumulation of snow and the day was warm. Sometimes, it feels like I live in paradise with the nature right around me.

There are tracks from our neighbors who had just ridden their ATV’s through it. There are a lot of Bambi tracks and Gobble Gobble turkey tracks too! Max and I are not the only ones enjoying this area.

We all love the outside up here in Elk, WA.  Our neighborhood is the one that started the, “You might be a redneck if……” craze. Checkout Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian here.

My goal right now is to conquer a fear of painting snow and get good at painting winter scenes. I figure the more I paint, the easier it will get. Hmmmm. We’ll see.

walk first snow WC washHere is the first study I painted of this view, as a horizontal presentation. After finishing the study, I am able to see areas to improve. Standing back a way gives me a good view to ponder how I want to proceed with the larger painting.  I’m not so sure I will go with horizontal, I think I like the vertical better.

Walk First Snow
Watercolor study complete for horizontal layout.

I will try a vertical layout next.

Snow and fun landscapes

Snow and fun winter landscapes, is quite a normal sequence of terms for this skiier. We are a household of ski and snowboard bums that love that white stuff. We have fun! Winter is fun!

winter fencepost
Winter fencepost, done in Stan Miller’s workshop at Spokane Art Supply in Spokane Wa. 

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to attend a weekend workshop with Stan Miller. He is a phenomenal master painter, who I have had the privilege of knowing over the years. A wonderful artist and person. The subject was winter water, skies and snow in watercolor. As always, having an opportunity to spend some time with a small group learning from a “master” really brings things up a notch in a painters world. Above, is an unfinished exercise from the workshop. Unfinished, but still quite an inspiration to me.

Snow is something I have always loved. Unfortunately, it is a subject that has simply baffled me whenever I try to paint it. Fortunately, Stan Miller is an amazing teacher and has been able to open up a whole new world for me with what he showed during that weekend workshop at Spokane Art Supply . With this fencepost painting, I was able to get “what I see” in a snow scene… down on the paper. Success, is such an inspiration.

A person who paints a 1,000 paintings stands a better chance of producing more great masterpieces…

It is about time, I record the fun and the gorgeous sights we see all winter long. This artist is on a mission!

Snow Chores

Propane Tank Before 1When snow falls in larger quantities, the chores around the home get a little unusual sometimes.Winter fun in Elk Washington. Keeping our driveway and road cleared is a given, because we don’t want to have to walk up this hill to get in and out. Keeps us on top of that chore.

That white stuff keeps piling up.

Uh huh! said the happy skiier!

Propane Tank Before 2This weekend while we were in balmy “teen temperatures”, I noticed that it would be real hard to get access to our propane tank. So, slipping on those sexy Sorel boots, with matching leather gloves hat and coat. I stepped out and grabbed the snow shovel off of the deck. My buddy, Max was right there with me, so we went out to clear the walkway to the propane tank.

Taking a couple of “before” pictures, I then got busy with a shovel while Max guarded the driveway. I’m not sure what he guards against, but he sits there at attention, gazing off into the trees.

Propane Tank After 2When I was done I took “after” pictures.

Propane Tank After 1Those walkway pavers were easy to put in last summer in the heat. It is a different story to find them under waist high snow drifts. Things got kind of tricky, as I thought, where the heck are they? Maybe, I should put a little reflector marking them. Another mental note-to-self.

Woo Hoo! now we can see the walkway to the propane tank and I am happy to report that my fingertips have finally warmed up!

Photograph Memory Treasures

I found some birthday memory treasures while going through old photographs. We have been loving the outdoor skiing sports for a long, long time.

PeteVal1Pete and I were married the year before, and I remember that wonderful soft beard of many colors? In January of 2000 we were the parents of two young teenagers.

It was my daughter, Rachel’s 16th birthday, so, where did we do her party? Why, up at the ski hill of course! Skiing, what better way is there for a teenager to spend birthday energy? With a total in attendance of eight people, we had three newbies with us; Allison, Sarah and Colleen. Then there were the old-timer ski hill bums Cody, Patrick, Peter, Rachel, and myself. You classify as a ski bum if you go up on the hill every day off you get.

Newbies

AllisonPat
Allison skiing with Pat boarding by her.
Sarah
Sarah falling only a few times.
Colleen1
Colleen snowplowing
Colleen2
Colleen conquering the bunny hill.

Old Timers

Then there was the rest of the gang…

AllisonRachelSarah
Allison, Rachel, and Sarah

Not a lot of money but good food, friends and laughter.

AllisonRachelCody
Allison, Rachel, and Cody

Expressive body language…

RachelCody
Rachel and Cody
Cody
Cody

Lunchtime had soup sandwiches and birthday cake at our table. Cooler and thermos experts we were and still are. Remembering these days and your friends bring a warm chuckle to my heart. I wonder how everyone is doing now. You guys were a really fun group to hang out with, and I treasure these memories brought back by a small packet of photographs taken in January of 2000. We know that is the date because of the irritating red neon date on the bottom right corner.

Snowshoe Peaceful Walk

snowshoe02We have had some usage of our snowshoes here in Elk WA and I am loving it. Max and I went for a snowshoe break after lunch and found some really beautiful views. I can’t believe how he loves to jump and run in the snow. Endless energy to say the least.

Compare a couple of weeks ago to today.

snowshoe08walk 01232019

The snow was up to my knees and Max’s belly, so with each step there was deepness and spillover on the shoes making it was a real workout. Beautiful and sparkly white blanket over the ground feeling like I was walking in a quiet winter wonderland. There were deer tracks but no others to mess up the views. Except we can really see where we were, maybe I should apologize for marking up the beautiful white blanket with snowshoe tracks and dog playing leap tracks all over the place.

No, I don’t think so.

snowshoe01I usually sit here and rest but I could not mess up this perfect layer of snow on this old log across our track. The MapMyWalk app says I only went 1.13 miles in an hour and 20 minutes. But, my legs feel like I have been marching with the Nazi army soldiers for miles. You know what I mean, lifting my legs up high for each step. Either that, or I was doing lunges repeatedly… wow.

 

 

icicles grown in Elk

Nature is so amazing….

It is cold here in rural Elk Washington, winter is definitely not over. Walked out on the deck this am and made a discovery, There is quite a crop of icicles hanging down from our roof. We have a steep slope metal roof so usually snow clears hard and heavy, but not so this past week.

It seems that just the right amount of snow and warming have prevailed. We have snow on the roof extending slowly over the side. The end result is lots of icicles hanging from a sheet of snow. A great specimen of what icicles look like.

At any moment a huge dump of snow will let loose.

It almost looks science fiction, kind of creepy crawly rows of fingers reaching over the edge of the roof.  These icicles are great reflectors of light, now I see where the inventor of those christmas icicle lights got their idea from. 

Plein air inspiration

Monroe St Bridge
Monroe St Bridge in process.

Inspired by a memory of a brilliant sunset recently.

 

I am working on completing a plein air watercolor painting of the Spokane river today. This started with a group outing at the Spokane library last month. The day waswa cold gray winterwday so I  exercising the artist perogatvepto improvise. AddingAthat gorgeousgsunset to the winter scene. It is a work in process will share more later.

Winter With Family

Let it Snow

Winter with family in the snow can be so much fun! We were fortunate to have our cousin’s son, Sam and his lovely fiancee (Jess) over for the weekend on the start of their ski vacation trip. Yay! We are so jealous!

Always fun time with those two and their furry critter Hilti! Our dog Max and their Hilti are best friends, totally!

Here are both.

Holland Sam Jess

Now, the real personality comes out!

Holland Sam Jess 2

We spent Saturday up on the hill at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort, what a blast. Got a workout and great sunshine all day, who says winter has to be dark? 

Crooked TreeOn Sunday we were able to walk near our house to the “crooked tree”. What a destination huh? It is about a mile and a half walk for us, which is a good stretch of the over-skiied and boarded legs from the day before. Crunch, crunch, crunch. However, it must be about ten miles for the dogs running in circles around us as we go. BTW, it is amazing what nature will overcome?

Check out this old tree, wonder if it could talk what would it say? Pete proves that he is truly a tree hugger and a tree sitter while we are there.

Pete Tree Hugger

When we got back home we had breakfast with Rachel and her family to celebrate her birthday which was the day before. A great winter weekend.

 

Skiing 49 Degrees North

Ski Conditions

Skiing at 49 Degrees North in Chewelah WA this weekend varied a great deal. Yesterday (Saturday) we skied up on the hill we had good snow to try out our fat ski’s on. Now I see why everyone loves their fats. There was 3-4 inches of fluff to float over and practice on for me. Pete went up to the top to check it out and found that the cloud cover was so thick that he was skiing by feel. We opted to stay on the lower hill by chair two and play in the Hobbit forest because,visability was only 1-2 feet on top. Quite a fun day!

We saw a white little weasel, and of course no camera ready. He popped his head out of the snow and looked like he was going to get Pete. They are hard to see but so much smaller than I thought they were. Then he just popped down and dug over a few feet and popped up again. Found one on YouTube kind of like it here.

Snow Today

Today (Sunday) we drove up to the ski hill early and saw beautiful blue bird day sunshine but there were some strong gusts of wind and some chill in the air. Anticipation was really high. The wind increased as we climbed and although there is 4-5 inches of fresh snow it is on top of a solid ice base. A fluffy skating rink. It must have melted yesterday afternoon or rained, then snowed during the night. The parking lot was interesting to traverse, very very, carefully. With those wonderfully comfy, ski boots, ha ha …. the walking across a parking lot skating rink was very interesting!

The lifts delayed starting about an hour due to wind being too strong on top. I decided to go only on chair 2 to check it out since I promised myself no injuries this year. Additionally, with learning a new type of ski “fats” it is so easy to make a mistake. Good choice, self! The wind was blowing the fluff off and drifting. This wimpy old fart decided to call it a day and live to ski another when conditions were easier to survive.