March is such a changeable month! One moment there is rain and promise of spring—then gales of wind turning to ice and snow. I was looking at work from past ‘Marches’ as I was curious to compare the weather to this one. Posted below is a much warmer March and I clearly recall the day it was painted…
After a long and bleak January/ February we had a warm spell mid-March. Outdoor painters rely on the weather report as much as farmers and I was watching and waiting. Finally the day came. I selected a fairly large canvas (24x36in) for my first plein air attempt of the season-perhaps to make up for all the missed paintings due to the #@!! winter weather. On went the wellies and off I went with my three canines. After a ten minute hike I set up and started working. The painting was coming along beautifully and I was midway through when the dogs started barking. I just kept working as this is a frequent occurrence-especially in the spring with new sounds of birds and critters giving them momentum to carry on.
But the barking became rather growly and aggressive and I finally had to put my brush down and look behind into the sun to see silhouettes of- lions-quite a few-coming our way.
The magic in these fields and orchards is that one can usually be alone. I do have a friend that lives on the other end and like me, she runs her dogs here —but even then it is rarely at the same time-and they are dogs, not lions. As the lions approached I recognized my friend behind them with her 3 dogs and another acquaintance who breeds horses-and, as it turns out, lion-dogs. The official name for these lion-dogs are ‘Leonbergers’ and I don’t need to describe them as I already have- they look like- lions-but gentler and fluffier. Gentle or not they terrified my dogs who in turn ran to me for protection—thus knocking me down as well as my painting, brushes, easel-everything- smack into the dense wet spring muck. By now I was surrounded by eleven dogs and two humans who impressively managed to hold their laughter long enough to help me up. After the herd dispersed I wiped out my painting and started again.
oil on canvas
In making this painting I was taken by the anticipation of a new season shared by all- birds/bees and creatures great and small - as well as the greening of renewed grasses mingled with the dried and dormant. I wanted the painting to convey growth through staccato brushwork and I exaggerated colour/movement in passages to denote a nudge for spring to hurry up and get here.