Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Apple Tree

A detour for a closed road out of Nez Perce, Idaho sent me east towards Grangeville.  That wasn’t on my moment by moment itinerary, but apparently was my destiny -- a destiny that lead me to the apple tree.

The lonely road between Nez Perce and Grangelville, Idaho -- my favorite kind of route during cross-country trips.  They may not be the most direct or fastest routes, but what they lack in efficiency, they more than make up for in interest.

Working farms/ranches laid out in artistic geometric patterns dominated the passing scene along route 162 until a “blemish” on the landscape -- an abandoned homestead -- caught my eye.  Ah ha -- a painting subject!  Abandoned buildings beckon me like a scone at Mimi’s Bakery so a U-turn in the middle of the lonely highway set me on a course down the overgrown “driveway.”   Alas, so much brush and trees enveloped the old home site, that I would have needed a chain saw to bring the building into paintable view.  I passed.

                                                 The "road" to the remnants of the history of a bygone era.

As every plein air artist knows, when seeking out a subject one needs to turn one's head -- your subject may lie in your rear view “mirror.”  Sure enough returning towards the highway, several abandoned apple trees adorned with ripe fruit beckoned.  My mind drifted to Petersburg artist, Pia Reilly and her endless depiction's of trees -- creativity pouring out of her watercolor brushes with every stroke.   After “borrowing” one green apple that I figured was unlikely to find a more appreciative “audience,” and with a future studio abstraction in mind, I set to work with my paints.

                                               Abandoned   9 x 12 inches   Alkyd on Raymar Panel

Meanwhile, Karen found herself reconnecting with her cousin Connie Mutel and her husband, Bob, in Solon, Iowa.  For Karen, the Mutel’s house located in an extensive woodlot, is like a second home -- a place where she can commune with the Iowa landscape and savor a temperate climate so much more pastoral than our Alaska home. 

                       Karen savored many hikes with her cousin throughout the rolling hills of eastern Iowa.

Karen thrives on a favorite routine during visits with the Mutels -- a meal of farm-fresh organic produce and an evening game such as Chinese Checkers. 

                                                  Cousin Connie's self portrait with Karen (left in the photo).

One discovery for Karen and Connie was a giant puffball, an edible mushroom that the Mutel's dog, Sandy, would like Karen to throw for a game of retrieve.  I didn't see it on the table several photos above so, could Sandy possibly have had her dream fulfilled?


Diane Eatherton-Watt said...

Hi Don & Karen...Thank you both for sharing your adventures!
You're beautiful people and always make me smile!

Love & Joy,

Diane Eatherton-Watt said...
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