Caragana Windbreak (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in) SOLD!

27 May finds us pulled over to the edge of a gravel sideroad just off Highway 509 in the rolling Alberta landscape just east of Red Deer.  They use hedges of the fast-growing, vigorously twiggy legume Caragana as windbreaks, and it gives the countryside a quaint pastoral touch.  As we searched for a view for a painting, slowing my parents' big RV at every rise watching for both a pull-off that offered an open view of the distant hills, so often one of these big Caragana windbreaks would be in the way.  This one is about 4 metres tall, and just coming into bloom with large yellow pea flowers.

There are Magppies everywhere, swooping across the road in black and white elegance - such an extravagant bird!  We see Blacktail Deer grazing on the roadside grass and blending into fields of stubble, still in their grey-brown winter coats.  The sloughs and dugouts are brim full from recent rains, and swarming with ducks and terns.  I look forward to more prairie as I finish this painting in Dad's driver's seat and wash my brushes in the sink as we begin to move north and east toward our next camp at Provost.

Click here for my closeup photo of Caragana in bloom - and for a photo of me painting in the drivers seat.

I prefer to paint outdoors, but I appreciate a mobile studio on a wet or windy day.  Here I am in the drivers seat of my parents' motorhome.

My canvas is propped on the steering wheel, steadied by my left hand, which also serves as a quiver for my brushes as well as holding a crumpled paper towel for wiping.  My palette tray is on my lap, and the narrow glass jar of water is in the cup holder (these are water-mixable oils).

I find the wooden canvas stretchers convenient for handling the paintings, as there are sides to the edges, and space for my fingers at the back as I hold the wooden side bar of the stretcher.  The edges are never painted until after the oil paint is well dried, and then I use fast-drying acrylic for the sides, so that the paintings may be hung unframed.


  1. Hello

    This is my first introduction to this plant. It really is beautiful!

    I love this picture. Not sure if I should be asking questions here or by email. but how long does it take to paint a picture like this? Would love to see how you set up to paint, as I can imagine that there might be a whole lot of juggling going on...sitting in the driver's seat!

  2. I have just posted a photo for you!

  3. Thank you, Aleta! I have never tried water-mixed oils but I bet they dry faster and are a whole lot easier to clean up!

    I am really enjoying your travels...and look forward to the next post!

    Wendy,in sunny and warm Beaverton, Ontario

  4. At the NATIONAL INVASIVE SPECIES FORUM - National Hotel & Suites Ottawa
    February 28th, 29th, & March 1st, 2012, we heard that, at the behest of the Saskatchewan Invasive Species Council, Saskatchewan landscape architects have turned on their heritage and have rejected further plantings of Caragana arborescens because it escapes from plantings as an invasive species.


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