Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Moonset West of Rugby, ND

Moonset West of Rugby, ND__6x8 oil on linen panel___for Passing America: the Great Plains
This leg of my journey across the plains doing "drive-by" paintings, was chosen so that I could find some SERIOUS WINTER. ...and wanting to find snow, but not endanger my driver! I chose well! Minnesota to Montana in mid-January is a guaranty for snowy landscapes. A few weeks ago, it had been -30 in these parts, so I was blessed to have much milder weather. It was 7 in this part of North Dakota this day!
I also chose this PARTICULAR winter day because of the moon phase and the Amtrak schedule. Whether traveling east to west or west to east, the MN to MT Empire Builder route travels half the time in the dark. My mission is to paint on the move, so I need LIGHT to see. I chose a day when the moon would be full, and I would have opportunity to see reflected light off the snow....After a night spent sketching put the window from my bed in the sleeper car, with my buddy, Rhonda on the top bunk, we were gifted with a beautiful and brief moonset peaking through the clouds.
We passed many little farms at night. I viewed them all night long....sometimes the train would stop near their towns, other times we would pass on by...more about that tomorrow
***Oh, yes!!! About that moonset from the train! All night long I monitored the full moon. I sketched it's reflection on ponds (...I THINK they were ponds!), noted the deep shadows on the snow, and watched it track across the sky....THEN I LOST IT!!!...at about 6 am I noticed it was "gone", and I did not think it was due to clouds, but rather the direction we traveled! The train veered a little bit and I assumed the moon was right in front of us... Thinking I wouldn't see it again, I settled in to do other things when Rhonda came runing through the train, leaving her breakfast, to tell me she spotted it going down! THAT IS WHY I was able to paint this one!!! THANK YOU, RHONDA!!! (And hey....running down a narrow aisle of a moving train ain't easy!)


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Sounds like such a wonderful trip. You are a dynamo and this is a beautiful painting.

Douglas Clark said...

You are being very productive. How nice to have snow to paint. It's so rare in Texas. You are very fortunate to be on this trip. Have a great time and keep up the painting!