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I was thinking of Robin Weiss's alders (http://inpleinair.blogspot.com, Jan. 11) when I made this painting. The specificity of his painting really intrigued me. I could feel the alder bark in my fingertips.
My tree trunks were nowhere near as interesting as alder tree trunks, and so they are not as specific. But I do think I got the feeling of the hard rocks under the soft blanket of snow, which was what truly interested me in this scene. I also like the vividness of the golden grass against the mantle of snow.
I did figure out, while making this painting, that while it's fine to paint in the cold, it's not so fine to paint in a snowstorm. When the paint is cold enough, the snow crystals get in it and don't melt. The paint turns sort of sandy, and becomes very difficult to work. I started this painting standing at my easel and finished it sitting in the front seat of the VW. So is that still plein-air? I'm going to say yes.
My heart is heavy this morning. Amos the cat still lingers. He is more confused than ever, and spent hours this morning with his head over the lip of the water bowl, staring into the water. He can barely hold his head up, and I became convinced at one point that he was contemplating drowning himself. I took the bowl away and he mewed and mewed until I put it back.
He doesn't want to drink or eat, and he can barely walk. I think maybe we should take him to the vet and have him euthanized, but it's 4 degrees outside, and the vet is a half-hour away, and all Amos seems to want to do is stay in the warm kitchen that he knows and loves and stare at the water bowl.
So I get down on the floor with him, and hug him and pet him and whisper to him, and I look into his confused eyes and tell him I love him and beg him to let go, and all of this brings my mother's death back to me so hard, it wrenches my heart and my very soul. I know I am not strong enough for all of this. But I pull myself together and get on with it.