We've been in the deep freeze the last couple weeks here in northern Utah, some days with the high temperature being below 20*F. That kind of weather isn't very conducive to going for a walk with the sketchbook let alone painting outdoors. Finally this weekend the temperature broke the freezing mark and today we had sunlight so I decided it was about time I got off the recliner and got outside. It was the middle of the afternoon before I got up the ambition and with the days so short I only had time for sketching. I went out to the Jordan River Parkway searching for subjects to sketch and to photograph. While I only took a pen and kept the sketches quick, (it was still pretty cold ya know.) I was still forced to really observe my subject, even without using color I believe this helps cement the subject in my mind. I decided it would be helpful to make a quick painting while the day's observations were still fresh;
8 x 10, acrylic on panel
This is a good example of the kind of subject that only exists during winter. During the summer this ditch would be full of bushes almost hiding the fact that it's there at all. The snow also makes the subject more appealing by simplifying it. Even in the spring before it gets overgrown all the grass and other plants combine to make the subject confusing and complex. For these and other reasons winter paintings are worth making, hopefully I'll make many more of them this year than I have in the past.
Here are the two pen sketches I made today;