Monday, December 31, 2012

Skiing in Yellowstone

It’s a Holiday week….kids are on vacation from school and my daughter’s birthday is mixed in there too. Usually, a lot of ‘family time’ happens during the last week or so of the year. For us, that means getting outside to ski....
And skiing in Yellowstone is fabulous. The weather has been grand, the snow has been perfect and wildlife sightings have been above and beyond.
a great grey owl hunting for food

On this ski outing, I didn't 'lug my good camera set up' - so the photos could have been MUCH better. I learned my lesson and it was along on our next outings...

Three bull elk dozing.

Three bison browsing.
Interesting to watch bison 'dig for food' with their massive heads swinging back and forth to shovel the snow out of the way.
Skiing along we saw signs (scat) of a we came around a corner, a bull moose - right off the ski trail.
As we watched, we realized he was missing an antler. Looked like it may have been broken off.
Here, he's walking up the ski trail.
Then crossing over for some 'willow browsing' on the other side.

I was certainly glad I lugged my camera this time!
Some gorgeous light on the mountains on our way out.
Fun was had by all.... even the newest skier in the family.
From us to you....
Happy New Year!
Hope you're enjoying moments with your family and friends this time of year too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bighorn Sheep

It's a great time of year to see bighorn sheep. Yesterday, we were going to a Nutcracker ballet performance. We didn't get far before we came across a herd. Luckily, I had my camera....

You never know what you'll see around here!

More about bighorn sheep.....
Bighorn sheep have horns not antlers. They grow throughout their lives and are not shed like antlers. An adult Rocky Mountain bighorn ram (male) weighs between 160 and 250 pounds...occasionally exceeding 300 pounds. The ewes (females) typically weigh 115 - 200 pounds.

There's some interesting history in Yellowstone regarding the bighorn sheep. To read more, click here.

Friday, December 14, 2012


No.... No Friday night art walk....A meteor shower!! Supposed to be at it's peak late tonight, but I even saw a lot this morning.

In all the bustle of the holidays,
find a moment for yourself.
Step outside (dress warm now),
Look up at the sky,
And thank the stars for their glory.
It is a beautiful little universe,
And we are fortunate to live here.
The entry to our Gallery - right after it snowed.
(For Gardiner, that's a lot of snow!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reading my thoughts....

They're red all over....

This is a block in for a painting of a sunrise at Old Faithful that I started today. I did a lot of plein air painting in the Old Faithful area this year and have a new appreciation for it all. I was lucky enough to hit some GORGEOUS times there to paint - moonrise, sunrise, sunset, huge eruptions - it was spectacular. So now I'm starting some larger studio paintings from all that inspiration. And this is how I begin.

I chose to start this one with a red block in, for the glorious sunrise colors I plan to use later. I don't always start with a red underpainting. Actually, I go with the theory - that there isn't a theory! I like to tackle each painting as a unique work - no formulas, please. But I thought you may find it interesting to see 'what's under there' - how I started this one off.

Right now, I don't have much down. But this is my 'thought process' in action. Here is where my thinking takes place....
Where will my lightest lights be?
Where will I place my darkest darks?
What are the major shapes within the painting?
How will the shapes be placed and relate to each other?
What feeling needs to dominate the painting and how am I going to do that?
Do I see any 'problem areas'?
Should I use an underpainting and what color?

In my mind, all those answers and more are in there. But it might be hard to read for anyone else.

I'll keep you posted as the painting progresses. And as I begin the others I have planned. It's my favorite time of year for studio painting. So I'm hoping to be at the easel a lot.

My visitor today - passing by my studio windows while I was at the easel....
Our Yellowstone Zoo

I saw him coming, so I grabbed my camera just as he was landing in the juniper tree.

He stayed in the tree for awhile looking for fish in the Yellowstone River...

And then went on his way ...

One of my favorite things about our property, is getting to watch birds from ABOVE over the river.

Happy 12 -12 -12!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lunch time visitor to our Yellowstone Zoo

It was a winter wonderland here today. It snowed this morning and was just tapering off around lunch time as we sat down to eat. When we looked out the windows, we saw we had a visitor. 
A coyote!
Easy to spot in the fresh snow. This is a great time of year to see coyotes. Their winter coat against the snow is particularly beautiful - and shows off their coloring well.

I love the coloring of the coyote with the muted colors of the bushes peeking out. A painting inspiration for sure!
And while we're on the subject of coloring. I took a photo of the Yellowstone River as the sun was just beginning to come out. It was gorgeous....
Who says water is blue? Lots of painting inspiration out our windows today.