This is that time of the year when we can celebrate warm and beautiful days, and small yellow flowers sneaking up through the leaf clutter in our garden beds. When we walk along great lakes shorelines here in the north we can see the ice melting, the snow banks fading, and any piled snow lurking in a shadow is dwindling to melting runoff. The Sun has a uniqueness as it comes up every morning that bespeaks a moisture laden atmosphere, and the changing trajectory of its spring solar path. Clouds create patterns of indecision revealing that they can’t decide whether to rain or snow, and but instead choose to sparkle with a glistening light. It is virtually impossible not to become enamored with these vignettes and want to paint them.
As a painter I try and confine my work to either live (plein aire) or painting from my own photographs in the studio so the work is infused with my own memories and experiences. Rarely do I stray from using my own photographs. Last summer, however, I met a photographer in Kenosha, Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan who has very similar visual tastes to my own. With that shared taste, I find references to my own experiences, and I can draw from those, remembering being there from her pictures.
The piece that I finished in late December (called Christmas Morning Sunrise) was painted from a photograph that this new friend took as she walked the shore of Lake Michigan on Christmas morning. I had written her and asked her if I could have permission to paint from that photo and she agreed. Then, a few weeks ago I saw another shot that spoke to me and asked if I could paint it as well and she agreed. I appreciate so very much that she has been kind enough to let me paint from her images. The painting at the start of this post is my newest work, Early Spring Thaw.
Photo credits to Linda Plaza, photographer.