Showing posts from December, 2011

Cedars With New Snow (oil on canvas 12 x 16 in.) Sold

26 December finds me climbing over the paigewire fence into our woodlot. This is easier than going in where the Ash and icestorm-broken Trembling Aspen grow by the gate. Here the trees are taller, shading open spaces where I can walk - the paths made by Fred and Jennifer as they salvaged wood after the 1998 ice storm. I follow Hare tracks until they join another Hare track where the snow is trampled beneath a low-hanging Cedar branch. Young Cedars are filling in an old opening, their leafy boughs cloaked with new snow, right to the ground. This will be my painting. Having established my woodsy studio with ground sheet, cushion and blanket, I lean against the springy dead trunk that serves for a back rest, looking up at the lively shapes in my chosen composition, and begin to plan how to paint it. This takes several minutes of motionless contemplation. My breathing is the only noise in the still cold forest space, muffled by snowy branches.

Wet Snow in the Sugar Bush (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

13 December finds me walking a sandy trail along the edge of the Agroforestry Sugarbush, south of Kemptville, Ontario. I am looking for a closeup scene to paint, and soon find a charming arrangement of Maple leaves tumbled over a mossy log and  patterned by wet snow dimpled with circular depressions made by large drips from the branches above. Some of the leaves are rich and bright like new leather, but others are pale and limp, translucent from repeated freezing.

2012 Calendar - Aleta Karstad's Plein Air Painting

We're very pleased to present our new calendar. It has a great feel, sturdy and spiral bound - you can see all 12 months in the preview on You can order it online or contact me karstad("at"sign) Lyn Dixson (in New Brunswick) wrote:  "Calendars arrived today..they’re wonderful, Aleta...each month is unique and meaningful. What a great tool.  The  way you’ve put this together has surpassed my expectations! Happy Christmas, wonderful 2012. LYNN"

Cedar and Juniper (oil on canvas, 5 x 7 in)

11 December finds me "Out Back" of our house in Bishops Mills, Ontario, shortly after sunrise, doing my first snow painting of the winter, en plein air. This is not fresh snow. The Cedars have shrugged it from their flexible leaves, but the stiff prickly Juniper still holds its burden - the shadowed sides of which I delight in painting blue, as snow brings the colours of the sky to the ground. This is also the first painting of our winter "Landscape Art & Science" project. In "Winter Woodlots of Eastern Ontario", we will be  visiting and painting private woodlots and public forests, guided to special spots by people who are familiar with them, learning the history and management of the woodlots, sharing what we know about the natural history of forests - and especially getting me out in the snow, where it's most exciting to be painting!  At the end of the winter we will publish another blog-based book book like "Art and Science in t