Oh Say Can You See?

upper side of property
upper side of property

Line-of-Sight

How did those surveyors back in Lewis & Clarks time do this mapping of the land?

How do you map out the lines between the property corner markers when you can’t see where the other end is?¬† Us amateurs began with walking as straight as possible, using a chain saw to clear a “best-guess” path. Planting rebar posts with flags on the hilltops and tying yellow flags in the trees, so we can see. Hours of cutting bush and dead-fall tree trunks, stacking the resulting brush in piles to shred later. So much fun! Not!

wild flower
What wildflower is this?

Upper side of the property…

Fire Breaks

Finally, we are able to take bailing twine and stretch it out to see where our “straight-line” should be. We discover that we were off (way-off) as the twine line goes into a zig zag pattern, turning as it hits trees along the way. Dang, we must have walked the line hundreds of times before we finally got a clear path on the upper slope of the property. We ended up clearing a great “fire break” by the time we got the line straight between those two property corners. Brush is a tenacious thing to conquer.

Clearing the worst area first makes the sides and front of our property seem easier. With the brush removed and the line set, we now only have to dig a 2″ deep ditch to set the wire in, placing flags at 12′ apart on it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Remember those muscles in your hands, arms and between the shoulder blades on the back? We have 10 acres here with four sides 660 feet long. Spend a day swinging a mallot (I can’t) to dig a 2 inch deep ditch along one side of the land and you will definitely remember these muscles too!

Next, we look forward to retraining the dogs on where they can go without getting shocked  by their collars. We can anticipate walking the border with them until they learn.

Who prayed that we would get in shape this year?

Stop it, whoever you are!!!

Birch Meadow at Slavin Conservation District

Birch Meadow Slavin Conservation Distr B0920
10″w x 7″h watercolor on 140lb cold press wc paper.

Birch Treeline at Meadow

Birch treeline in early spring at a meadow of Slavin Conservation District. This painting began as a plein air day with friends from Spokane Watercolor Society (SWS). I shared in an earlier post about the outing. I am putting this post up to show you how a plein air day inspires in my studio.

Plein Air Outings

Plein air is something dearly loved by this artist. I’m not sure if it is the feeling of freedom that I feel while painting outside or is it the amazing colors, smells and excitement that inspire me to grasp for more in any piece that begins outside.

Slavin Conserv 01

Here is the watercolor sketch I brought home with me from the outing. An idea of the colors and layout. My phone was full of pictures I took for me to work from for all the details.

Slavin Conserv 02
Meadow in early Spring, with a birch and pine treeline at Slavin Conservation District, Spokane WA.

I quickly added basic underpainting tones in the sky and meadow between the treeline when I got back in the studio. I do this to remember the feel of what I saw, till I could take the time to finish it later.

Painting en plein air is sometimes cold or hot and a little tiring but it is always a worthwhile event for me. Not only do I get to walk and draw/paint outdoors, I get to see fellow artists too. There are no better group of people than the crazily creative artists of our world. We are the people who see beauty that others don’t notice. Unnoticed beauties that capture our heart,inspiring us to bring life back around in beautiful colors and lines, till another can basque in it’s discovery.

If what I have painted gives your spirit an uplifting feeling of appreciation, then I have succeeded. My heart is smiling.