Somewhere in Sierra County

Somewhere in Sierra County you will find sites that are beautiful and often with historical distinction along Hwy 49 such as this amazing and yet little known spot. I live approximately five miles from this location rich in gold mining history. On this particular day I wanted to paint a snow scene and this was back in March of 2012. I will be taking you through my best or most memorable plein air experiences until which I will post a current painting session.  

Joubert’s Diggins hydraulic mine established 1852 472341_3417619761366_1213407843_o

I am so fortunate to live in an area that has such an array of locations to discover nature, hiking, outdoor activities and gold mining history and obviously where I love to plein air paint. I live within 2-3 miles from the Middle Yuba River and about 5-6 miles from the North Yuba. I headed north on this particular day and had planned to paint along the N. Yuba but I had a sneaky feeling that I would have trouble finding an area along the river where Caltrans had plowed an area to park. So, I decided to stop right across from Joubert’s (pronounced jew-bear) to paint the woods.


Ha! I found an area to park and I think that the only reason they did plow at this spot is because it is where a lot of people decide to turn around or to stretch their legs because at this point it is nothing but windy downhill from here. So I called it good enough.


I do believe that is was my first time to paint in the snow and I know I admire people in the areas of the US or other parts of the world where they get more snow than we do. I know one thing I realized how much strength and stamina it takes to carry my equipment over the huge snow berms to reach my spot. As you can see I had to keep my pastels somewhat covered to protect them from snow slipping off from the trees. Pastels and water do not mix well.

I brought along my Heilman Box and set it up but decided to rely totally on the pastels I had in my Julian easel. My Heilman box contains the more expensive pastels which are mostly filled with Unisons, Great American, Terry Ludwig and Sennelier. I have since purchased other brands but I will talk about that in later posts.


All bundled up b428189_3417775885269_1997649646_nut warm. Currently I have yet to get out and do some more painting snow scenes so it is in the plans. I have bought quite a bit of hot hands and hot feet to help to keep myself more comfortable. This is my painting and I have just recently worked it to a finish but I only show my initial start as it pertains to what I accomplished on this day. I have learned that some days you aren’t able to complete a painting and some artist discount plein air paintings and only use them for a study for a future studio painting. I differ in that I feel a plein air can be a stand alone painting in that they can be quite lively and rich in strokes that are “in the moment”. I value plein air paintings for what they are, a note or a poem of an experience.

I was quite happy in what I accomplished for being my first snow scene and I applaud those people who get out and paint in the snow and cold.  Don’t ever be timid or afraid that the difficulties of taking your studio outside is too hard or scary. Get in there and be determined! I am not as young as I was when I first started about 11 years ago and I am lightening up my supplies and I can’t walk as far back in to paint as I used to but I still get out there. Never let the supposed difficulties stop you.




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