Breakfast in a Spring Thaw, prairie painting with cows and geese

New painting! It explores a couple ideas that have been coalescing for me. How lovely the warm ochre grasses look poking through the snow. How much life and color are outside in the winter. How to direct the eye through a scene. Ideas you’ve seen me work through before, but I really feel like they came together nicely here. I am quite thrilled with this painting! Hope you enjoy.

Breakfast in a Spring Thaw, 30 x 40 inches, oil on canvas, available.          (Prints also available)

This is a scene in my neighborhood – practically from my studio window. It has been wonderful to be able to look out the window as a reference, as well as looking at a few photos. So this is a plein air studio painting.

My plan for today was to add geese to the painting and add finishing touches to everything. Before I got to the studio I saw several flocks of geese flying overhead, and then I heard an NPR/MPR host talking about Midwestern birds. So auspicious!

I am usually fearless about making changes to paintings, but I had become attached to the soft sky. I’m not sure if it comes through in the photo, but the bottom of the clouds are violet, with a warm green top edge of the clouds and a cobalt blue sky. Anyways, I was practically trembling when I put the geese down.

I wanted them to be in v-formation, but with a little bit of softness in their arrangement. I measured their distance with grey dots, and then painted the general M of each one to get the sizes, and then added warm colors to differentiate their bodies and finally cut back into each one with the sky to shape them more specifically. Here’s a closer image of the geese. I hope I did them justice.

For people who haven’t spent time in Eastern South Dakota / Western Minnesota, there are geese overhead almost every day in some seasons. We get flocks of geese with many hundreds of birds, and the formations they fly in become kind of wild. It’s wondrous.

Lastly, I’d like to say thanks for name suggestions!

I’ve received all these name suggestions from a work in progress post on IG & FB. I love them all! It was very hard to choose, and finally, I combined two of the suggestions that represented my vision well. Thanks again!

Out to pasture
Field of Dreams
Knee Deep
Midwest matinee
Breakfast in bed
Free-range or Roaming or Free to Be
I remember…
“hilltop grazing”
“free to roam”
“beautiful bounty”
“country cattle”
“wide open spaces”
lazy day
Spring thaw

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