May 4, 2010

Welcome Spring
12" x 12" oil on canvas

Michigan -- A New Home

I arrived in Frankfort about a week and a half ago. I'd flown from Vieques to Atlanta, then Roo flew down and we drove back here together. We're living in an apartment on Main Street, across the street from the house we're renovating. It's great to be here. For one thing, it's cool; for another, there are no mosquitoes or roosters. Plenty of friendly folks, however, and miles of beautiful landscape

Where to paint first? Always a tough decision for me. But first I had to dig out of storage my equipment from last October when we left for the winter. Whew! I found a blue, a red and a yellow and a small tube of white. Enough to get started. Off to Treat Farm at Sleeping Bear Dunes. I'd heard the woods were full of trillium, I had to see them. Sure enough, the white flowers on either side of the trail from Tweddle Farm blanketed the wooded dunes. I headed on to the meadow beyond, though. I wanted to paint the farmhouse.

Sheltering in the shade of a small pine tree, I set up my easel and squeezed out my paint. Except the cap on the tube of yellow I'd brought along wouldn't budge. And it was very chilly. As my winter duds had been stolen in the burglary back in Georgia, I'd layered up as best I could, but it wasn't enough to protect me from a stiff breeze off Lake Michigan. Undaunted, I scraped as much yellow as I could from under a dried pile from last year. Tough going painting that brilliant sunlit forsythia in front of the house. Like many first drafts, this plein sketch was sent to the bottom of the pile.

On the way back to my car, I spied the friendly pair in the painting above. Next time I was free to paint, I made sure all the caps would unscrew. The yellow leapt from my brush onto that bush. "Welcome Spring" -- I'll count this as my first keeper of the season, the painting that welcomes me back to Michigan to my new home.