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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!

40 thoughts on “Des Plaines River

  1. That is beautiful and deserves an upper case WOW!

    1. That is so kind, Phil. Thank You!

  2. Wow, that is very pretty. Very wintery too 🙂

    1. Thank you Anarette 🙂 And so far so good on the wintry front here~looks like warmer temps are on their way. Whew!

      1. Here we have kind of warm temps for this time of the year too 🙂

      2. Interesting. While I am concerned for the overall warming of the global climate, I confess I am quite happy to have warmer winters! 🙂

      3. Unfortunately I saw the results of climate change in New Zealand. The glaciers are retreating rapidly. But I can imagine that you like warmer winters. I like the warmer winters (compared to Holland) in Florida too. Although snow is beautiful but not to live in…

      4. We just had a thunderstorm last night. Quite a departure for our normal February! You’ve experienced some very different places. How cool is that. Where is your favorite?

      5. Oh, that’s swimming with the whales in the Silverbank for sure. Next is new Zealand’s south island…

      6. Wow….That is inspiring!

      7. It was! See my two videos on Anarette youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TZ_Diq-m14

      8. Oh my God!!!!! That is just so cool.

  3. 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.

    1. That’s too bad that the camera doesn’t capture the effect of all the layers. I totally agree with your decision not to paint for the camera! I guess this way you get two works of art :-). Hopefully some day I’ll be in your area and can see some of your paintings with their real life colours.

      1. I’d be so tickled to have you visit! Oh the places we’ll visit 🙂

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

    1. On the serious side, the leaning is what makes this image special.

      1. It sort of bothers me, though, to tell you the truth. I keep wanting the tree to move out of the way so you can see the river. Maybe I need to paint another version but happily it is spring(ish) now so I’ll turn my thoughts to blooming things.

  10. 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.

    1. 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?

    1. It is the stretch you can access from Wadsworth Road, just east of 41. Do you walk that trail?

  12. What a gift. Creativity.

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

    1. Thank you very much for your kind comments.

  14. 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. 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. 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!

    1. How kind of you, Inga! It is a treat to come across your blog as well 🙂

  19. Doing some catch up. This is a wonderfully evocative picture. When my mother was dying I remember walking miles with my thoughts on a cold, sunny January 1st morning. Winter is better than high summer to me and that morning gave me some respite and relief from the struggles going on at the hospital each day.

    1. I never know, when I commence on a painting, who might be touched by it or in what way. Thank you for sharing that memory with me, Andrew. When I look at that painting now I will think of you walking on a cold January morning and being comforted.

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