Gallatin River 11/28/16


18″x 24″ Acrylic on Lexan


Snow blanketed the walk and was still coming down when I grabbed the broom to clear the window from the night’s cold air barrage of winter’s imminent arrival.  It would be the first day really painting in the snow and the Gallatin River held today’s mark as the location to work.  A new site on the stream was Cameron’s Bridge just out of Belgrade, but upon seeing its inaccessibility, was scratched, and the traditional location at the Axtell Bridge was found.  The water was blue as could be and the starkness of the snow left no doubt about the clarity of color and depth to the stream’s rock cobbled bottom.  After a few casts against the lightly snow-dusted Lexan it became apparent that the paint would not be drying anytime soon.  The water in the paint and moisture in the air had the paint dripping down the surface of the polycarbonate material.  After waiting a fair bit of time for the first layer of paint to dry the realization that the image might never get finished before dark struck home.  It was determined that the painting would have to be created in two different parts, the highlights being applied first with the mid range colors a close second, then allowing the work to dry for an extended period of time before the dark undertones were layered on.  After analyzing the paint that was fusing their colors together the idea of working outside and capturing the changing elements and season was all part of the day,  and a conisuerre of the artistic process could appreciate the fact that the melding of colors together takes away from a harsher shape but brings on an entirely different feeling to the work in the paint’s reaction.  After the dark colors were applied to the work, the other side of the painting began in the opposite direction from the dark colors to the white highlights that were dappled across the river’s surface.


It never ceases to amaze me the friendliness of folks that drive across the Axtell Bridge.  Four people rolled down their window to say hello and ask about the paintings, some fishermen came by with hearty greetings and a dog with a beeping collar came out onto the river bar to check things out.  When I got back to the truck and charged the cell phone there was a message, “We would like you to create a painting for us”.  It was the sun coming through.


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