Sunday, January 13, 2013

Skiing and Sketching

I spent a few days visiting with family and friends this week at my mom's place at Alpine Lake, near Terra Alta, West Virginia. I took advantage of all the snow they've had in the past few weeks and went out cross-country skiing several times while I was there. I brought home a nice reminder of my fun visit, a completed page in my 9x12 sketchbook. (Aquabee Super Deluxe 9" x 12" sketchbook. Colors used: ultramarine blue, permanent rose, carmine, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow medium, burnt umber, burnt sienna, Payne's grey, & quinacridone violet)

(Click to enlarge)
8-1/2" x 12", ink & watercolor

The first morning was blustery and overcast, with not another soul in sight as I headed out across the snow-covered golf course. I carried my sketchbook and pen in a small backpack, hoping to do a sketch or two along the way, but it was a lot windier and colder than I had realized. I had to wait until I found a sheltered spot to take a break and attempt a sketch. Drawing with heavy winter gloves on is challenging, but the alternative was frozen fingers, so I opted for the gloves. A quick pen and ink sketch of the guard shack at the resort entrance was all my fumbling fingers could manage before I needed to get moving again to warm up.

Detail, 6" x 3-1/2"

The red flag on the 17th green looked so jaunty waving in the wind; I thought it would make a nice addition to my page. It only took a minute or two to get down the basic lines, then I finished it later with watercolor at home.

Detail, 3-1/2" x 3-1/2"

My ski poles are from my college days, back when cross-country skis were actually made of wood, and we used wax to keep from sliding backwards down a hill. I think it might finally be time to replace them, but I'll be kind of sad to see them go. Those poles were with me when I skied into the wilderness of the Colorado Rockies in three feet of snow with a 35 pound pack on my back!

Detail, 4" x 4"

This last sketch was drawn later in the week, on a sunny day when everything was bright and sparkling. I took my time skiing along the lake, pausing occasionally just to look and listen, appreciating the beauty and the quiet.

Detail, 6" x 3"

The frozen lake bed began to thaw later that day and by the time I headed home patches of grass were showing on the hilltops. It's only a temporary respite from winter though - spring's a long way off. That's okay. I enjoy each season for what it brings. (And painting snow is a lot easier than summer foliage!)

11 comments:

  1. What a wonderful souvenir to take back from your cross country ski trip. your own painted memory poster. I love the way you painted the boot & your broken ski pole stuck together with tape.
    Brilliant.

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  2. wow.. Love this page. I am impressed..all that sketching with it being so cold and remembering what color things were when back home. Its been YEARS since I last skied. Never did cross country skiing tho..Fun memory.

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    1. I snapped a photo of each scene as a reference to paint from, but that first day was so gray and overcast that there weren't any shadows, so things were really flat looking. I just ended up adding some pinks and blues and suggestions of shadows to give the sketches a little life.

      I used to downhill ski a lot when I was in college in Colorado, but haven't done it for years. I think I've come to prefer the slower pace of cross-country skiing.

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  3. I admire your persistance to sketch in the cold. I first learned to cross country ski on wooden wax skiis... I love your poster on skiing. I've still never painted snow, so for me it doesn't seem easy.

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  4. PS Thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoyed your comment, Leslie...

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    1. I LOVE your sketches, Rita, and have added your blog to my "Blogs I enjoy" list in the right-hand column. I'm hoping my readers will stop by to see some of your delightful work.

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    2. Thank you, Leslie! I am delighted because you are such an inspiration to me.! Happy sketching, Rita.

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  5. Your work is beautiful, Leslie! All those little, adorable details are fun to look at!

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  6. Absolutely fabulous page. I too used to cross-country ski and it has been years since I've done it. The excitement in your page makes me want to go give it a try again! Wonderful composition!!

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  7. Get out there and give it a try, Claire. It's so much fun to glide across the snow. And I love to stop and just listen to the quiet. Everything is muffled by the snow - it has such a calming effect on me.

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