Friday, January 3, 2014


Harriman State Park in Idaho originally belonged to Union Pacific Railroad investors.  Then it became a cattle ranch and private retreat for the Harriman and Guggenheim families.  Now it is open to use by visitors for hiking, biking, fishing and, my favorite, cross country skiing.

These three skiers were all dressed alike and enjoying the perfect conditions on the day I was there.

Temps were warm enough the squirrels were out digging up a little lunch.

Across the valley was a great view of the jagged peaks of the Grand Tetons on the border between Idaho and Wyoming.

Wild animals such as deer and coyotes left their tracks in the snow.

The sun was out casting blue shadows across the frosty trees.

The trumpeter swans who winter at Harriman always honk like a traffic jam when they take to the air on their giant white wings.

They were headed for the open water of the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River.

They pretty much ignore humans who pass by in the ski trails.

Scenes like this make it well worth hauling a camera with a zoom lens along on a cross country ski trip.  But having that camera on board really cuts down on risky and adventurous tumbles down the hilly trails.

Next time I’m leaving the big camera home and I’m going for the trail on the south side of Silver Lake.  Towanda! 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The Virtual Paintout site for December is Venice, the city built on water.  Through the ingenuity of Google Street View, the location is now available to explore.  

Virtual visitors are able to walk the streets, cross the bridges, ride the boats, peek in shop windows and wander down almost every alley.

The whole city is an artist’s dream. Picturesque views were everywhere.  So it took a while for me to come up with three watercolors to submit to the Virtual Paintout blog site.

My first choice was a view across the Grand Canal looking toward an island and the San Giorgio Maggiore Church.

Google Street View captured this location with the morning sun and soft shadows left by the mist in the air.  I moved a gondolier from another angle into the scene to add a little interest.

Next I “rode” a gondola down a canal under the famous “Bridge of Sighs.”

 On the other side of the bridge was this picturesque scene.

My third choice was from an open plaza where a variety of kiosks were set up to sell items to the crowds.

“Art for Sale gave me an opportunity to paint a painting of paintings.

As I said, only three entries are allowed in the Virtual Paintout but I spent hours exploring the city and finally painted one more just for fun.

I call this “Tourist Trade” mostly because my impression of Venice was this beautiful city is trading its magnificence for the cash brought in by thousands of visitors.  I found the streets crowded, the shops full of expensive souvenirs, a lack of green space and no children.  It looks like Venice has become a kitschy theme park for swarms of tourists.  Personally I think they could stand to limit the crowds and spend more effort preserving the history.  And, perhaps making the city and its magic at least virtually available is one great step in that direction.

These paintings are going up for sale in my Etsy Shop.  I sold a lot of paintings over the last two months and I need to re-stock the shelves.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Morning temperatures finally “warmed up” to less than arctic so I got out my snowshoes and wandered about the Hundred Acre Woods.

Being fine today doesn’t Mean Anything.  It may hail a good deal tomorrow—blizzards and whatnot.

 It appears the Woozels have been out again.  Or maybe  just some deer.

Winter fog makes everything seem fuzzy white.  The rodeo grounds look much different than they do on a sweaty summer day.

Sometimes the fog lifts with the morning.  Here we see a picturesque sunrise over our fair city’s sewage plant.

The same river that swamped the campgrounds was now almost frozen in its bed.

 Freezing fog has the ability to crochet lace on every surface.

Even barbed wire fences appear like the doilies my grandma used to decorate her sofa.

 On a side note my sourdough bread is looking and tasting better all the time.

I’ve had a lot of success since I figured out how to keep the rising dough warm by stashing it in a picnic cooler along with bottles full of hot water.