Wednesday, November 29, 2017

#2031 "Dead Pine High Rise"

The 2017 Southampton Art School Annual Adventure was carrying on the legacy of my friend and artist Jane Champagne. This was the seventh demonstration painting and the fourth of Day 2 of the Plein Air Paint Out. After completing #2030 "Setting Down Some Roots" I moved eastward across the point to this vantage overlooking the shallow bay on the east side of Lighthouse Lake. Dale was with me still but the other artists had either gone for walks or were painting along the gravel road. The wind was still howling. The cold frontal trough was getting closer. We needed to paint as much as we could within the warm sector of the storm because conditions were going to be quite different in the wake of the cold front on Wednesday.

I was attracted to this pair of white pines on the eastern edge of the point. The wood pecker holes in the standing dead pine reminded me of an apartment building. There were four units stacked in the vertical. Only the top hole was round. The other entrances were almost square and I puzzled as to who or what might have shaped them that way and more so, why?

I suspect that the square holes were the work of a Pileus or Pileated woodpecker. The scientific name is Dryocopus pileatus, which means crested tree-hitter. The somewhat silly debate about how to say the name of this fascinating bird comes up with two solutions. Sources imply PIE-lee-ay-tid is correct and more common but "Pill-ee-ay-did" is also accepted. The southwesterly winds were blustery in advance of the cold front. The frontal cloud was still some distance away so the plein air weather was still perfect.

I first heard the thunder from the cold frontal cumulonimbus at 4 am the following morning. The rain arrived about an hour later. The morning plein air session was going to be delayed a bit but we would still get in almost a full day of painting.
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