Its been a sunny and dry holiday season in this neck of the woods, though there was ice on the deck this morning. I feel like I'm hibernating... sleeping in late, eating some wonderful meals, and enjoying time with family. It is good to be home for a few days with everyone around. I had a few hours free today before heading over to my folks for dinner, so went through our back gate onto the hill behind our house. I came across the rear hindquarters of a deer, primarily bones and a bit of fur near the hooves. Coyotes? A lone turkey lurked furtively among the small oaks, keeping me in view as I wandered about. There was quite a bit of haze in the air today and I was attracted to the blown out light pouring over the crest of the trees on the hill, the polka dot sky holes, with minimal detail forming a back drop for the foreground foliage patterns. Highlights on branches, some backlighting, and the range of color and value between light and shadow were the basic ingredients to work with. The sun, though quite close to the trees, just slid to the right instead of dropping down behind them as I worked, so the foreground shrub and sapling stayed in relatively the same light for about 90 minutes. For the past few months I've been painting in and around a redwood forest not far from where I live, and have been working in the shade. My hands and feet get pretty cold after an hour or so. It was nice to get out and work in direct sunlight on one of the shortest days of the year.