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Canoeing at Lake Louise in the Snow

Painting Nature as the Seasons Change

Milessa painting in the Canadian Rockies

Have you ever experienced the changing of the season? Recently, I went on the PleinAir Magazine Publisher’s Invitational for Fall Color Week in the Canadian Rockies. Walking through the woods to paint en plein aire became quite interesting as it began to snow that week and finding any “fall color” was a challenge.

I must say, though, having to paint in the snow was a first for me. Luckily, I had hand and toe warmers, ski pants and boots; otherwise, I would have been stuck in the lodge by the fireplace sipping on hot chocolate dreaming up my next Dreamscape series…oh my, LOL!

I was not about to miss out on this chance of a lifetime. As you know, here in Frisco Texas, we get very little snow. To be able to see the change of a season right before your eyes, experience it, capture the essence of the moment and paint it goes without saying that it was YUMMY (at the TOP of my lungs)! I will never be able to duplicate this experience nor capture the very special outdoor paintings like I did. I want to share this with you because you may be like my best friend who said I was crazy to paint in that weather.

Kananaski River at Kananaski Village;
Oil Painting by Milessa

I did fall on the black ice twice in two days. Black ice is NOT black! And luckily I didn’t break anything but my pride. So, if black ice is not black, do you think snow is white? Oh contraire, there are so many colors I saw in the “white” snow, that I thought I had already gone to heaven. So if you know my paintings, you know I love color and white is everything but white.

Throughout the week we kept hoping for a clear day or two, so that we could drive up to Lake Louise to see the beauty of the clear teal blue of the lake. Well, time was passing, so my husband and I trekked on up there, snowfall and all! Oh my goodness…it was the most beautiful winter scene I have ever been  party to. Snowflakes were gently floating down from the sky, it was misty but no too cold and no wind.

Canoeing at Lake Louise in the Snow

The canoers were still rowing and floating in the lake, though the water was not as clear, it was still a beautiful teal. I had heard a rumor on the internet that the water was teal because they drained the lake and painted the bottom. WRONG! Don’t believe everything you read. The teal color in most of the lakes and rivers in Canada come from the rock flour carried into the lake by melted water. You’ll notice this color throughout the region in their lakes and it was fun mixing that special color for my paintings.

The hunt was on for me to find some golds and reds (even in the snow) because I really did want some Fall color paintings to go home with. I found just a bit. Larry, my husband, laughed saying “the other painters were all painting the lakes but not my wife…she found the only red bushes there were with a golden Aspen beside it” LOL; red is my favorite color, he should have known that’s where I would be!

Finding Fall Color at Barrier Lake

I came away from this trip with ten paintings that were all done en plein aire, which is basically two per day.  Some will say that doesn’t sound like a vacation but for me it was a dream come true! Inspiration like this will keep me busy for awhile.

Artwork provides the ability for me to capture these moments and share them with others, like you. My next big show in NYC is at Pier 92 this coming April (2019), until then HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Milessa Murphy Stewart

The best paintings create a story. My stories have happy endings.

Milessa was born a big city girl in a dry, desolate area of Texas where the only trees she saw were mesquite and the only things to climb was her horse. She remembers a lot of brown but that did not stop her from dreaming in beautiful, bold color. She paints in a playful and visual style.