January 11, 2013
Still quite cold out (for Arizona). Supposed to get down below freezing this weekend. The chill makes me in the mood to do more snow scenes.
When my grandfather, Carl Bell, passed in 1982 (he was over ninety and still driving but slipped on ice when walking out to start the car), I flew back to Des Moines, headed for the funeral in Thompson, Iowa. We landed in a raging snowstorm. It was 20 below with the wind chill factor. We landed on an ice packed runway. The week prior a plane in Boston had slipped off the runway into the water because of ice. My father flew in from Vegas and my cousin's wife brought extra clothing for us to wear to leave the terminal. We drove in what looked like a tunnel of ice to their home in Des Moines and the snow blew across the road and made travel of any kind very touch and go. In fact, they closed the freeway going north, delaying our departure by 36 hours (and they had to delay the funeral as well, not to mention my grandfather's burial. They had to freeze him until Spring to complete the burial!) and when the freeway finally opened we saw semis buried in snowdrifts all the way to Mason City.
When we finally made it to Thompson in a rental car, my dad and I wanted to go out to the farm (my grandparents had moved to town for health reasons). Fortunately the roads had been snowplowed out there so we took off and made it to the gate. I got out with my camera and stepping behind the car, took a panorama of the snow and the farm, taking five photos. The photos floated around my studio for decades before I finally took the five pics to Michael Feldman's Custom Frame Shop and he and his right hand man, Josh, made a panorama of the scene and framed it. It hangs in a place of honor in our living room. This morning, I grabbed it off the wall and took it out to the studio for inspiration and reference. Here it is on my art desk:
My grandfather's farm was north of Thompson, Iowa and about ten miles south of the Minnesota line. We seldom took this road north from the farm. My dad's cousin, Donnie Bell, had a farm to the north (the grove at left, in distance) and my father walked beyond there to the country school he and his sister Doris attended when they were little (1930s).
Long story short: I love this kind of winter scenery, at least in pictures.
"When people say they love winter, what they really mean is the proof against it."
—Old Vaquero Saying