Painting Snow Scenes (created 2020)

Every day for a week I gave myself the task of painting a different snow scene. I am not comfortable working outside when the temperatures are in the 30’s so I decided to set up near a window looking out onto the scene.

Stuck in the house due to Covid and the cold temperature which do not appeal to me for painting outside, I have decided to start a series of snow scenes looking from my studio windows.  This is the first in the series.  Completed in about two hours.  little touch up the next day, refrained from adding much of anything just a few little branches on the right.  I like the “suggestedness” of the forms which describe the movement of the wind and snow 

“White on White ” (9×12) oil on linen

This little painting I discovered the advantage of using soft brush strokes in most of the painting to give a feel of atmosphere and air created by the snow. I emphasized the foreground tree limb to bring definition and sharper clarity for a contrast. I also took the liberty of editing out some of the abundant number of branches. Something I don’t always like to do. why? Simply because Nature is usually the best composer and I just follow her lead. In this case, less is better. Simplification is key. This is the advantage of working from the motif rather than a photo which brings everything into focus. See photo below

“Emily’s Backyard in the Snow” oil on linen panel

The late afternoon light in this painting really appealed to me. I especially love the long violet/blue shadows from the trees on the snow. the multiple fences were problematic. I decided to downplay the individual planking and tried to emphasize the overall pattern of color change from cool, to warm. This painting came together effortlessly. I could have reworked some areas to bring into more definition but decided I liked it the way it was.

This little study was completed in a couple of hours working from my car looking out onto the canal. It was a cold February morning.

This painting “View from my window of the last snow” is a much larger format (18×24) on cotton canvas. I have been spoiled with painting on linen for so long I forgot how absorbent a cotton canvas is. I don’t like that but I do welcome the change to a larger format. It allows so much freedom. Stage 1: I took the time to draw in earth colors for the first hour. Then moved into evaluating the value.

“The Blue Vase” (20×24) oil on canvas
“Lightpost in the Snow” (9×12) oil on linen

Painted in a couple of hours during the last snowstorm. This is the view of my front yard from a bedroom window. Some have said this painting reminds them of Narnia. I wasn’t even aware of the Narnia painting.

One of my favorite snow scenes painted by John Twachtman “Winter Harmony” .

2 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on emphasis. These are beautiful,sensitive inspiring. I’m struggling …again…to find my artist within. But I do know that painting in nature connects me most to my spiritual self, which matters most and is so difficult to balance with the material demands of a very confused world. Great post.

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  2. Thanks Elle. You did see that this post was written last year. Crazy. It is unseasonaly warm here in Maryland no snow. No White Christmas. No Christmas at all but that’s okay at least we are all okay and not in the hospital. Love to you and your gorgeous family. May 2022 be the healing year for all!

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