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"The Distant Snow Shower"
(Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Oregon High Desert)
Oil Sketch on Ampersand Gesso Panel
5" x 7"
(Take further Note: the images and incidents herein occurred in December 2014.)
All night the wind blew; not gale force, but hard enough. It was not as cold overnight as I thought it would be, so my ice bucket was only partially frozen; still, it was better than if I’d left it in the cooler overnight. My campsite is in a very slight dip, and so with the slightly warmer conditions, my wheels spun as I tried to leave to paint; if it had been colder I would have had no difficulty getting out. So, I emptied my 15 gallons of spare fuel into the tank … what a job … took over an hour as I experimented with various methods of doing it best; nevertheless the job got done. Each of my three containers still held a little petrol in the bottom, since I couldn’t get an angle for them to empty completely, so I poured from two into the third and drained that one as far as possible; I must get some sort of funnel to get every last drop in future. With the petrol in the tank, and not weighting down the far back of the truck, and a little judicious spade-work, and 4-wheel drive, I got out without further difficulty.
By the time I got out of the Hot Springs valley, it was 11:30, so I ended up driving through the HQ about a mile or so on the road towards the Warner Valley, parked and had my lunch, and studied the scene before me. Snow showers passed by occasionally in the distance, with a good one forming up as I set up for painting. I worked on the sketch during the afternoon, while further snow squalls came and went, sometimes over me, and decided I would have to come back in the morning to rework the buildings and trees of the HQ complex. I quite like the Beattys Butte massif dimly showing on the horizon, just to the left of the snow shower, and about 20, or so, miles away; it had been in sunlight not long before, but this gloomy apparition, as depicted, better caught the spirit of its impending disappearance beneath the obscuring swirl of the squall. Just beyond the heights on the right is where I did yesterday’s painting, below Lookout Point.
With the morning’s slippery exit from my previous campsite in mind I took a site closer to the plowed exit road, and on level ground, for the night, and prepared my supper in a light snowfall … de-rigueur these days; diced ham and mashed potatoes with mushrooms, corn and broccoli – mmmmm good! While I ate supper the cloud had cleared away leaving the whole sky brilliant with stars! Five minutes later while stowing away my frying pan and stove, the cloud swept in again leaving sucker holes full of stars … fickle.
Imprimatura: Venetian Red.
The Pigments used were: Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna, Lead White #2, with Winsor & Newton Cobalt Blue and Venetian Red.