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!

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.

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.

Where we hangout…

Today speaking with a client, I was trying to explain my favorite place to feel closest to heaven.  It is almost as though God paints the scene different every single night. Some trees with tinly icicles on each needle, some delicately powdered with fluff on the top of each branch and then some totally encased in a frozen frosting. These thoughts led me to look at a folder of old shots up on the ski hill.

Probably my favorite thing is the way light shows through the trees almost as an invitation. Always a thrill and obviously a favorite of mine as I probably have 100+ shots similar to this in my reference photography. I have done paintings of this frequently…. this is one of my early oils.

Sun Thru Snowy Trees
That familiar sight as you ride a lift up the mountain anticipating a fun ride down.

The shadows are of my husband and I around 2001-02. This was an early morning right after a heavy snow that left the trees fully cloaked they looked like hunched over creatures in groups. I loved being on the ski patrol, getting up on the mountain for first tracks and watching the mountain transform from sleepy and dark to bright white. No better morning than that. On the hill the same location never looks the same.

Here is another early morning where I stood for 5-10 minutes in this spot taking shots so I could see how fast the colors changed.

Amazing isn’t it? Okay, so maybe I aspire to be a ski bum. My son gave me a sweat shirt with that on it. Yep.

Signed the Hawaiian  X-Ski Patroller

Christmas Break Skiing

Have not been painting this week, am instead enjoying our winter. It is a beautiful world of powder and clear days up here in the mountains. Just heavenly, truely a skiiers paradise. We had a terrific week off (after Christmas) in the snow with our kids and our grandkids at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort skiing for four days out of the past seven. Two munchkins took ski lessons (3 ea) and we watched them transform from “never-ever” to pretty darn good skiiers and snowboards.

It was a check off of my bucket list to make sure the boys learned to ski before I depart. Thank you Rachel and Stephen.