Des Plaines River


des-plaines-river-snowMelissa Blue Fine Art

There is a curve of the Des Plaines River that often catches my eye as I drive past. I like how the tree leans out over the water, and have thought that it would look lovely with snow. We’ve only had one snowstorm this winter, so on that morning my son and I grabbed our boots and headed out. All was silent as big fat snowflakes fell. It was really lovely.

I did this painting in oil. As many of you know, I’ve been wanting to switch to eco-friendly oils. It has been an adjustment to be sure but worth it to know that rivers are not being polluted that I may have paint. This is messy stuff to work with. I mix the colors myself with walnut oil and am usually pretty well pigmented by the end of the day! Mixing the oil into the powdered pigment is meditative. And fun!

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38 thoughts on “Des Plaines River

  1. Phil Ryan says:

    That is beautiful and deserves an upper case WOW!

  2. Anarette says:

    Wow, that is very pretty. Very wintery too 🙂

  3. Jim Ruebush says:

    I see why that tree attracted you. I notice several trees around here striking interesting poses.

  4. I notice, going through my stack of reference photos, that I am repeatedly drawn to the same sorts of things and leaning trees seems to be one of them. Maybe there is a leopard in my family tree, eternally seeking a good perch 🙂

  5. Your beautiful landscape is familiar to me. Living not far from the Des Plaines, this was one of the best countrysides around with flowing water.
    What a thrill to see it represented here.

  6. It makes my day that my painting triggers good memories for you. Thank you so much!

  7. So nice to hear you enjoyed a winter day! I think snowfall days are the best winter days… that snowflake and silence combo you mention :-). To me the colours are definitely wintery, but with a magical twist. I can’t quite put the lilac in a place I’ve seen, but I love how it plays with that deep bluish brown and the subdued gold and light spearmint green. I’m curious to stand in that place which will likely never exist again the way you saw it. But really the place you have created is its own place and I really enjoyed visiting it. I think it is super cool that you are painting with eco-friendly oils!

  8. Yes, my token winter day 🙂 🙂 On the canvas my colors are a lot closer to what nature serves up but the way I get there is by layering, and I’ve found that the digital camera slices right through the layers. At first this freaked me out and I wondered whether I should “paint to the camera”, but then I decided that wouldn’t be any fun so I don’t.

  9. Can we say that this painting is a pigment of your imagination?

  10. Mark Baldwin says:

    Winter is my favorite time of year to photograph. The snow defines every line in the landscape, especially the graceful curves of tree branches. Those features, combined with water and reflections as they are in your painting, create breathtaking images. You have captured a piece of winter’s magic here, Melissa.

    • Thank you so much, Mark. You are right about winter. My daughter teases me because she knows how much I hate winter but I do like to paint it! 🙂 Mark, do you write a blog? Your work is so beautiful. I like to go visit your website and am trying to decide which image I want. I want them all!

  11. Where on the Des Plaines is this? Is it in one of the forest preserves?

  12. Iriz Chan says:

    What a gift. Creativity.

  13. stbarbebaker says:

    You have a wonderful eye, and have caught the reflection of the sky most perfectly in both snow and water. Thanks you for sharing

  14. Gunta says:

    Don’t know how I managed to miss this beauty… I simply love the serenity you managed to portray here. Glad I went searching for your mention of Byron Katie. I really like her stuff. Will have to find a moment here to tell you more of my reactions.

  15. Her writing is really wonderful, isn’t it? Especially in the past few months I find myself returning to her book over and over. Yes, I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts. Thank you, Gunta. I enjoyed painting this.

  16. tomwhelan says:

    I particularly like the cropping on the upper edge – give the diagonal trunk more weight/emphasis.

  17. Thank you Tom, I appreciate that. Knowing where to crop isn’t always easy for me.

  18. Inga says:

    Every once and a while I wish there was more than a ‘Like’ I could share. I really love this post. So glad to have found your blog!

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