Bluebird winter days

Pinon pinecone lightly dusted with snow against a deep blue New Mexico sky.

A happy weekend to you from the sun- and snow-kissed Land of Enchantment!

El Niño has come to the desert southwest with generous snowfalls! This periodic warm-water oscillation in the Pacific Ocean provides much needed extra precipatation for the desert climates of the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Santa Fe is currently about 8″ ahead of average snowfall, and the rest of the state is enjoying greater than normal amounts of the fluffy white stuff as well.

The winter got off to a good start with a first snow in the high desert around my house on November 5. After a road-closing blizzard right before New Year’s, we’ve had smaller but meaningful snowfalls throughout the winter.

For all you skiers, Ski New Mexico has a regularly updated snow report for all resorts in the state.

The winter season is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors here in New Mexico. Even though the weather is milder than the northern tier of states, don’t forget common sense and safety precautions when you hit the trails. Dress in layers and be sure to include a waterproof outer layer in case of snow. Carry along plenty of water and snacks in your daypack, and off-piste safety gear. A fleece blanket in your car is a good idea, if you get stuck.

How will you be spending your beautiful weekend?

Wrenaissance Art is posting at Instagram as @NewMexicoWildflowers

Navajo yucca seedpods have very sculptural forms.

These dramatic yucca seedpods are a sample of the wildflowers and nature photos I’m posting on Instagram @NewMexicoWildflowers

This summer I’ve started posting at Instagram. The topic matter is New Mexico wildflowers, and that is the name of the feed–@NewMexicoWildflowers.

You can enjoy iPhone photos of the delightful spots of floral color that I find on my daily walks and hikes through the New Mexico high desert. From time to time, I’ll also be sharing wildflowers and plants seen on my travels and other natural wonders seen in New Mexico and farther afield.

The motto and theme for this Instagram project is, “Mostly wildflowers. Mostly New Mexico. All natural.”

I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Tools of the trade: Using a smartphone to record progress

Botanical painting of red Indian corn, work in progress. Snapping a photo of daily progress in the studio helps with motivation.

A snapshot a day keeps discouragement away when working on big projects.

Painting a botanical art plant portrait is a slow and laborious process. Details build up slowly, almost invisibly. It’s easy to lose motivation when it seems like nothing is happening on the paper and there’s still so much more left to paint.

To combat discouragement, I like to take a quick snappy on my iPhone of my current project at the end of each work session or day. This gives me concrete evidence that I’m making progress and motivates me to get back to the drawing table the next morning.

Using a camera to record work in progress is a time-honored habit among artists. Hilary Spurling has described how Matisse would photograph his day’s work on his late Blue Nude painting before his assistant would wipe the canvas clean for the great artist to start fresh the next morning. Picasso took snapshots of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as he worked on what was to become the world’s first Cubist painting.

Do you take snapshots of your work in progress? What mental tricks do you use to keep yourself motivated while you work on a major project with lots of details?

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