Plein Air on the Prairie


The vivid gold and rust colors of the 6-foot-tall prairie grasses warm the winter landscape here in southern Minnesota. I was surprised at how tall and beautiful the grass was as I walked down a path that’s maintained for walkers at a nature center. I could barely see over the top of the grass in some places. Deer can walk undetected on the trails they make to cross through openings between wooded areas.

The outside temperature was on the rise after dipping to near 0 degrees in the days between Christmas and New Years. It was in the upper 30s on the day I went out to do this painting. Still, the ground is frozen so I’d placed air-activated hand warmers in the toes of my Sorel boots. My feet stayed warm even after standing a couple of hours.

This is one of those paintings that grows more interesting the longer you look at it.

~ Karen Howell, Director at Evansville Art Center, Evansville, MN

I do sometimes paint from photos that I’ve taken when I’m out walking or just driving around. But nothing can replace standing out there where I can feel the breeze that carries the light scent of decay and that causes the grass to sway and rustle.

The painting “Crossing” is available to purchase under the Collect Art tab.

crossing plein air

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