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  • Writer's pictureAlan Linquist


For the first time in six months, things are starting to feel normal again, but there is a lot I have to do to get ready for the spring. I had a goal last year that I did not come close to accomplishing due to my surgery. So now, I'm looking forward to 2024.

The first thing I needed to accomplish for this year was a new plein air easel. When I started painting plein air again, a few years back, I bought a new french plein air easel , which proved to be poorly built. It wouldn't hold tight, screws came loose, hardware had to be replaced, and one of the arms on the lid started to come undone. So, now, I've been looking for a new one. The recommended ones are fairly expensive, but as luck would have it, I was rearranging my art equipment in the basement, and in the back of one of the shelves was a tripod easel in pretty good shape. Apparently, someone had given it to me a long time ago. I think that its a good one to start with, and I can decide if I want to continue with that style of easel, or return to the French style.

Another small problem is that we live in a small town a fair distance from the city. The only place to buy art supplies in an emergency is at Hobby Lobby. Unfortunately, they have discontinued the Winsor & Newton line. Most of the artists I knew used to hit the stores for supplies, but, these days, I believe they shop online. I haven't done much of that as I haven't used that much paint so far, but it looks as if I'll be doing so in the future.

I do have a good amount of brushes, and I have noticed that over the past year or two, I've been moving away from softer brushes and towards harder, and stronger ones. When I was young, I used sable, and it wasn't that expensive then. But maybe twenty years ago or so, I moved over to mongoose. It was tougher than sable. Now I'm using bristle. Mongoose is now considered an endangered animal (except maybe in Hawaii, where it seems to be an invasive species.). But as for brushes, I'm good for now.

Since the new year, I've been painting around the house. I told the story about the autumn painting of the kitchen a few posts back . It was my first attempt to paint since the surgery. I followed that up with two outdoor paintings of Christmas lights in my neighborhood, and a painting of my wife's laundry table. The Christmas lights paintings are a disappointment. I did get what I wanted, which was to make the colors of the Christmas lights really pop, but I'm not satisfied with the way I painted some of the houses. Add to that the failure to get snow until the second week in January, and, in one of the paintings, our neighbors didn't even put up lights. It makes the houses that have lights look too distant. I could fake it, but it's not good enough to save.

Two other paintings are more promising. One is a late afternoon painting from our deck that shows the result of a major snowstorm with a late afternoon sky. I like the colors of soft blues and oranges, but it's not finished. On the other one I have just started is a picture of fog. Yeah, it's kind of like the painting of a polar bear in a blizzard. Ha! Ha! We were really nailed with about 17 inches of snow, and now that the weather is warming a bit, we are getting lots of fog. I drove up into the forest area and looked for interesting places to paint. The problem was that with so much snow, there really wasn't any shoulder on the road where I could pull over and paint. I did find a farm that I've started. Today, as we had more fog, I drove upthere in order to block out the areas on the painting where the houses and the trees go, and, while I. did, I made up small spots of color which I'll match in the basement so that I'll have the house in the foreground in the fog. It felt so good to be out painting, even for a short while. It has been a long, hard time.

With the melting snow, I'm starting to look forward to going out in late winter, if the weather holds.

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