Snowy North Yuba River


View of the Sierra Buttes from Hwy 49

I wanted to get out to paint en plein air before the next coming storm. When people think of California they think of beaches and the lack of snow. Ha! well, I live in an area that snow is readily available if it isn’t snowing at my house, it is snowing somewhere close by. This location is about 35 miles from my house and the road leading up to the Sierra Buttes is routinely shut down for the winter and opened to snowmobilers and snow sports enthusiasts. It is a personal pet peeve of mine that people have this conception that California is always sunny and short sleeved weather even in winter. With that complaint off from my shoulders, let’s proceed to my painting.


My scene along the river

After this painting experience I am convinced that I don’t like trudging through deep snow with my heavy pastel equipment. Either I have to make it lighter and more compact, or find a scene to paint from the road. I didn’t even bother with setting up my easel and painted holding my board. Not the best decision for me especially when I have trouble with my hands.


My painting – soft pastel on PastelMat

I had completed my painting to about 75% and finished it up in the studio.

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Along the North Yuba Trail

I decided to take a hike on one of my favorite trails and reflect on painting and my experience today. I felt very much dissatisfied that I came away with only one painting but I decided to shake it off because I was able to paint regardless of how many or the quality. I also came away with over 300 photos to work from. All in all, it was a good day in Northern California.

*A word about photos. The photos on my blog are mine, taken by me and copying them would be stealing from me. If you find a photo that you would like to copy or use, I request that you ask me for permission and I expect you to give me full credit for my own photo. Thank you so very much.



40 thoughts on “Snowy North Yuba River

  1. wow, the pastel has such life and sparkle to it; energy. love it. your river ….. beautiful! 300 photos, is well worth that trip, yes indeed 🙂 lovely photos…. I wish I was there too! Great post Margaret 🙂

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  2. Does this mean that you don’t even own a surfboard? Well, don’t blame me for not knowing — I’m from Maryland. So there’s another verse missing to “I wish they all could be California Girls” — who knew!

    Anyway, whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right. Wonderful pastel. I admire the plein types that go out in winter, those artists made of sturdy stock. Won’t ever find me among them! I’m such a cold weather wimp. Me, I’m only looking out the window. (That would be the cozy window in the warm room with my hot beverage close by!) Your drawing is so lovely though and it feels like a full palette — love the rich colors.

    It’s good to have you back. And interesting to see your pastel. I began following your blog in the watercolor phase so I don’t know you as a pastel artist as much. You’re a versatile gal!

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      1. Nobody hates Maryland. That’s because half the citizens of the US probably don’t even know Maryland exists! As for good vibes — I thought those were “good vibrations” to be exact. Okay, that’s my last Beach Boys reference! Those get around, you know. I know there’s much more to California than the Beach Boys!

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    1. Hehe….no surf board for me! I was so well dressed that I got too warm if you can imagine that, I think that the fact that I had my underwear from Norway on might have done its job too well. Yes, I started out in pastels and so you’ll be seeing more of my pastel work this winter. I’m unfamiliar with using watercolors in colder weather because of the drying problem, we’ll see. Thank you Aletha for all your comments and observations, very much appreciated. 🙂

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  3. You are so blessed to be surrounded by such beauty…and even more blessed to have the ability to capture the scenes with your art. You certainly are a hearty soul to be out rain, shine, or snow! Thanks for sharing the lovely results with the rest of us. 🙂

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      1. I’ve come to realize I’ll never be a plein air painter. In the spring, my allergies keep my sneezing constantly. Our summers are too hot, our winters too cold. We have a few autumn days that are perfect for painting, but that’s about it.

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      2. There was a pastel artist, he might still be living who in his 60’s and 70’s (at the time I read this article) had painted en plein air regularly in the snow in his home state of Minnesota. I always think of him when I go out to paint snowy scenes. I am not so sure that I see myself packing my equipment out there at that age. It gets hot here in the summer but then I go early in the morning, the light was more beautiful at that time so it works for me. 🙂

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  4. Looking back at your paintings in your previous post, such light and reflection! Your surroundings are such fertile ground for your creativity. Welcome back from your break and good plan for moving forward. No need to push or hurry ~ beauty takes time!

    Liked by 1 person

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