Monday, 18 January 2010

Painting Snow!

The recent unusually heavy snowfall here in the UK has caused a great many problems as our roads turned into ice-rinks, train services were severely disrupted and airports closed. Not to mention the steep rise in A&E attendances due to broken bones and other (sadly, sometimes fatal) accidents caused by the arctic conditions, which we are simply never prepared for!

But for someone like myself, with no need to travel because I work at home, and shops within easy walking distance, the snow still retains its magic and offers some rare photo opportunities; everything from the typical picture-postcard scene on the left to the basis for one of next year's Christmas card below!

Of all the photos I took within a few minutes of my home, my favourite was probably this one -

'Sunlight on Snow'

Incredible that the sun was so low when it was taken, around midday!

I am actually tempted to use it as a reference for a pastel painting - when I get time! And that set me thinking about the difficulties of painting snow successfully. I think it is a brave artist who rises to the challenge of capturing the myriad of colours in what we usually regard as a 'blanket of white' and regularly refer to as 'the white stuff'!

The Impressionists, of course, were not daunted by the challenge. Sisley, among others, painted snow-covered landscapes and I thin it is fascinating to see Monet's observations (scroll down to the haystacks!) of the reflected colours of the sky in the snow!

Maybe it's not quite as difficult as I thought it was if all one needs to do is replicate the sky colours in the snow? (Who am I kidding!)


Monet again

The illustrator, Ezra Jack Keats succeeded, of course, in his wonderful illustrations for 'The Snowy Day'

And I think that my fascination with paintings of snow is demonstrated by the fact that I seem to have hung nothing but snow paintings in the hallway of my house in Abergavenny!

My favourite is a limited edition print of the Black Mountains called 'Winter's Light' by local artist, David Haswell. My print isn't amongst this selection of his work and it's rather more abstract than what you see here - I chose it because every time I look at it, I see something different so it's endlessly intriguing!

Another of my collection is a tiny painting, again of the Black Mountains, to the North of Abergavenny, with snow covered fields, by Claire Whitehead. I haven't been able to find any of her paintings online, but in the process of searching, I came across this 'artistic overview' of the area where I live.

Finally I have a lovely little watercolour of a farmhouse, seen across a snowy field and through trees that are reflected in an icy pond. I bought it so long ago, simply because I liked the soft, brownish pinks and blues of the sky and snow so much that I can't even read the name of the artist on the back any more!

But here is a more recent 'snow painting' by a Scottish artist, R D Forsyth, that has very much impressed me. You can see it and read more about him on the Red Bubble website (an Australian print-on-demand website that I discovered soon after I joined Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle.

The composition impressed me as well as his treatment of the snow.

It rather puts my own (soft pastel) attempts to shame!

I was somewhat happier with this one - part of the Offa's Dyke Path, near Whitecastle in Monmouthshire - and I've even dared to hang the original at the foot of my staircase to see whether I would grow tired of it, as is sometimes the case with paintings I originally liked. But it's still there after several years!
So maybe that should encourage me to try to make something of my recent 'Sunlight on Snow' photo? Maybe.

Some of my pastel paintings are available as high quality, light-resistant prints and greeting cards at Red Bubble.

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