Those Crazy Plein Air Painters


The week after Easter I travelled up north to Menomonie Wisconsin (a 4 hour drive) for a plein air competition. It was officially Spring, so of course there was a snowstorm raging as I got to the apartment of Marc Anderson, the wonderful painter who was letting me crash on his couch for the week. As I drove into town to register the next morning, I marveled at how the hilly countryside looked-a white blur. What the heck was I going to paint? How was I going to paint in a snowstorm? Was the day a wash?

Marc could tell I was a bit disheartened, but I told him I thought the snowy day was beautiful and asked where I could paint a misty view of something. Oh…I know everyone hates long blog posts so I’ll make this long story short. I drove down toward a park on unplowed roads to a park along a lake. I guessed where the parking lot was and parked. I set up and started to paint. I couldn’t get my easel umbrella to work so my canvas was getting snowed upon. It made the paint all bubble up so I quit. I drove away, but then I had a thought: I can get snowed on, but if I put the canvas in the Subaru and I stood outside, neither the canvas nor I would be likely to melt! So I dried up the canvas-losing half the paint-and started again. That’s the painting on the left.


The next morning Marc and I got up at 5 am and went off separately in search of a sunrise.  It was 8 degrees out-but hey-no snowstorm! So, with my paint barely coming out of the tube, and with useless medium, I scraped together the painting on the right. I was lucky to finish it to my satisfaction because even gloved, my fingers were about to fall off.

The snowstorm painting won second place, and has sold. So next winter (or spring)…bring it on!