What Color is Alaska in the Winter? Sketches From a Warm Car

Although it has been cold and windy here, I was determined to get out and paint the soft colors of winter in Alaska last week. I gathered my sketch bag and tootled off in our car with the heater on high.

The sun has long ago abandoned us and only touches the mountain peaks during the middle of the day.  I stopped to sketch the Matanuska River from the Glenn Highway. Most of the river is full of ice and the reflections are from ice polished by snow as it blows down the frozen river. Water is flowing under and around the ice, being fed by ground water and springs. No glacier melt adds to the flow when the thermometer hovers below minus ten degrees day after day.

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Mount Wickersham glows in the sunlight, causing colorful shadows.

Spruce trees are almost navy blue against the glow of the deciduous tree bark being lit by the weak sunshine. The sky is pale and silvery.

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I wasn’t sketching very long before the sun set at three in the afternoon. The weak blue in the sky gave way to a warm peachy glow as I sat snuggled up in my car, happy as a cat as I sketched with the heat on.

What color is winter where you are?

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Painting Facebook Photos 6

"Friendly Feet" 9.5" x 15" watercolor

Kendra, who is a friend on Facebook, is a delightful combination of brilliance and fun. She took this photo and posted it on her wall in black and white. This image is the sixth of ten in my “Painting Facebook Photos” series. Because I know some of these colorful characters who are wearing these shoes, I wanted this painting to have fresh, clean colors. I chose to use only three tubes of watercolor; Pthalo Blue, Red Rose Deep, and Hansa Yellow Light.

I wanted the shoes to sparkle against neutral  pavers so I started with a little color sketch. The terra-cotta pavers in the top sketch are warm and sunny, but I wanted the warmth to come from the shoes and feet, so in the bottom sketch I tried a gray-blue with the clean colors coming from the shoes.  The result was sparkling shoes and clean colors.

An interesting thing to note is while the sun is coming from one direction, creating the main shadows, there is a bright window creating another subtle light source seen mostly on the boots. Am I an artist or a detective?

Two Putt

"Two Putt" 8 x 8 oil

When we vacation in Arizona, my husband plays golf and I paint. Usually I drop him off at a course and I go find a place to paint. One morning the sun was sparkling on the grass and the players. It caught my attention, but the reason for painting this is the relationship between this man and the boy. It has a sparkle all its own.