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!

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.

 

Snow White Christmas Wish Granted

Snowy Snowy Night

Go to sleep dreaming of a snow white Christmas and here is what a little bit of snow overnight action looks like at out house. Isn’t it a glorious transformation? It is a truly sparkly white winter wonderland? Amazing, to say the least. Dark green trees adorned in white crystals that pick up sunlight from everywhere. See more posts of snow here at home. Or better yet, check out the snow report at 49 Degrees North, things are looking good!

snow white house 1

snow white trees 3

Plowing Snow

This snow white winter change requires another set of skills to be performed by any home-owner deciding to live in a rural setting in the inland northwest hills. Luckily, we have family willing to let us buy machinery in payments because this machine has made the clearing of this snow so much easier on these old bones. Not only that, the man driving it smiles and is happy to go outside. Pete loves his Tonka toy.

snow removal 04 Max exhaust 1 04 Max exhaust 2 snow removal back blade down

Snow plowing does something strange to our playful Swiss Mountain Dog/Pitbull named Max. Mighty Max never says no to a walk or run and is in love with the outdoors. He loves snow! Or, is it the tractor that he is in love with? Hmmm.

snow Max back at  exhaust 1 Maxbackatexhaust1Mystery Solved

I had been wondering why this bundle of love muscle has a strange smell after going out and plowing snow with Pete, and this time I discovered what it is that he likes to do. Watching while Pete started up the Kubota, I noticed Max rushing over and getting right under it in the exhaust fumes and rolling in absolute delight in the snow.

You know how some animals roll in dead things they find, well, Max rolls wherever the Kubota spews exhaust. He gets out of the way quickly when Peter starts to plow with the blade, but as soon as he can, he goes right back to where he was rolling before to smell and roll in the snow. Diesel exhaust never impressed me as attractive enough to roll myself in but… It almost looks like he is saying, “What? Mom, it smells so good! I gotta roll in it.”

Maxbackatexhaust3

You can see how Pete clears the lower road where our garden is about the most weed-free it can be, with absolutely no effort on our part. No weeding in the winter, Yay! I digress, sorry. Peter is an expert snow plower with any machine!

snow plow 2 snow white plow 3

Road & Driveway Before

Pictures of the snow white scenery before Pete plows… Here is the road in front of our property, then our driveway before he plows. Next is the lower driveway cleared looking up to the house on the hill. Pete proceeds to get all of the driveway and the road in front of our property clear, so going to work in the morning will be a breeze.snow white roadway snow white driveway

snow lower driveway house

Walking back up the hill I take some shots of the house noticing the bright red metal roof and feeling so blessed to have put such a steep roof on the place. You can see that very little snow ever accumulates. snow white house 2 snow white house 1

We have had enough shoveling of the roof on the mobile home earlier in life. We are so fortunate to not have to shovel this roof in our old age.

Painting Mural Backgrounds

Tree Placement

Painting with quick and light strokes I put forest on first wall lightly with some clouds above the mountains. The big tree in the foreground on the front right does not sit well with me.WALL “A” is 20’-0” wide by 10’-0” high (200 sq ft). It is time to get moving with painting the rest of the mural background mountains.

wall A background with trees

Background Painting

The second wall background painting begins as I use the light chaulk guidelines that I did at the beginning.WALL “B” is 40’-0” wide by 10’-0” high (400 sq ft). It is fun to be able to imagine an assortment of perfect skiing and boarding slopes as I paint. It almost seems to get colder as I progress across the wall. Painting dark grays and lavender gray hills layered behind medium gray mounds with light slopes in the foreground. While stepping back to admire how this arrangement of hills is working, another item screams loudly at me. Can you guess what it is? Take a look at these three pictures and see if something just grabs your attention as you are looking at the scenery.

corner wall A&B background

Camouflage

How many times have I had items in my mural areas that were horribly distracting? Lots! Unfortunately, such is life and many times these items are quite necessary and almost impossible to change.

Frustration happens when creating a “work of art” and there are obvious distractions visibly interfering. Consequentially, I have tried my best to learn ways to camouflage these un-moveable tyrants. In this area there are electrical conduits in bright and shiny aluminum going right across the sky that need some help.

wall B conduit

The person who taught me to paint houses and walls was my Dad who was a contractor. His rule was to paint every single surface. Voices from the past coming back into our lives.

No short-cuts allowed!

I remember having to paint the bottom and top of shelves in any cupboard and all sides of every door or drawer. Why did I have to paint something I wouldn’t be seeing? There was no arguing the point with him. It upset me at the time. I understand that it is important to make sure the entire surface is sealed, which is something I fully understand and agree with now. This “painting every surface” is a lifelong habit or rule I follow and it has always made a better paint job for me. Mahalo Dad!

Fixing Distractions in Paint

I back track and paint all the conduit and wire surfaces in the same colors as the mural and the improvement to the entire presentation is amazing. Take a look at before and after shots to see the difference. Isn’t it amazing? I didn’t really fix anything I just hid it. Awesome!

You can see the conduits on the left side of the column painted gray and then black where it crosses the column. The wire and conduit on the right side of the column are not yet painted and are distracting. I will be painting these surfaces from here on as I finish the mural. See how un-anticipated additional costs and time accrue?

wall B conduit painted

Take a look at the first image of this post and compare it with this image below. Wa La! No need to let distractions destroy the art.

wall A conduit Painted

Be sure to check this mural out when you visit the 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah WA this winter and let them know what you think about their improvements!

 

Painting Begins

Initial Wall Painted

background mountains
background mountains

Painting the first wall of a mural is where I tend to experiment with colors and shapes the most. We want the mountains fading as they go off into the distance brighter trees in the foreground, so, I am using muted colors that overlap to start achieving a shortened depth of field. Consequently, you will see on the far left that I am experimenting with a little snow cap on the hill.

Snow Caps

snowcap mountains
snowcap mountains

Along with the white cap mountain tops I work my way to the right trying clouds above the hilltop to see what it looks like. The jury is still out about whether this is the best sky treatment for this room scenery.

Trees

trees foreground
trees foreground

The next step is the tree layout. With a limited pallet I am staying real gray and using only quick and very essential shapes right now. The sample I was given to work with had this big tree up front, but I am not in love with it right now. That may need to change  before the job is over.

Start Next Wall

background mountains next wall
background mountains next wall

I have made the turn around the corner and started with the snow capped mountain range on the longer wall. It is a little tricky to keep the lines right when avoiding things like a column or doorway like this wall has, but it can be done. Sometimes I use a drawn chalk line across the door to the other side so I can keep the lines straight. The resort is getting ready to open their doors around Thanksgiving this year. Everyone is praying for snow. You can check out 49 Degrees North Ski Resort at their website. All in all, things are progressing at a good pace and I am happy.

Celebrate, celebrate…

FIRST DAY BACK SKIING… in three years! YAHOOOOOO!

3 years ago, I had open heart surgery so skiing was put on hold for quite a while. Yesterday we went skiing and I am feeling so glad to be alive. Life is SO GOOD! When you find something that makes you smile just thinking about it – go for it YEAH!

beginning oil painting of 49 degree North mountaintop 49NpanoG4306

Thought you might like to see a favorite view I painted from time spent on the hill, here is a shot of the painting just started and then another of it finished. See more about a great mountain at, 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah Washington.

Let it snow…

January 2016 it is snowing today and I thought a watercolor of snow would be appropriate to post. Yellowstone in the winter is the most amazing vacation memory I have with Pete. Really something worth doing. These Bison were walking so close to us I could not get a whole one in a picture frame.

Bison walking in the snow.

http://valeriewoelk.com/GALLERY/BisonYellowstoneL2211.html

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS Day #9

ORIGINAL ART For that special person on your list at heavily discounted holiday prices…

Contact me here… or simply go to our website Valerie Woelk original art to see more pictures and descriptive information about today’s special or any other art you may want. There are many paintings available for immediate shipment or pickup.

 Sun Thru Snowy Trees L804 $95 (self-framed)

 

Sun Thru Snowy Trees
21.75″w x 27.75″h x .75″t oils on board. Oil on board painting of the illumination by sun rays through forest trees on a ski slope as you take the lift up for another ride down the mountain.