Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A Snowy Colour Palette for January

Even a light dusting of snow was enough to make the Smiley
face that overlooks Bailey Park, perfectly clear to see!

Some people insist that snow is white.

I suppose that's true - technically! But when an artist paints a snow-scape, all sorts of colours other than white somehow seem to appear, almost as if by magic!

For example, here is one of my pastel paintings of snow from quite a few years ago. I always try to put down exactly what I see and here I must have seen pinks, blues and purples in the shadows and warm, 'creamy' whites where the low winter sunshine streams through the trees. 

Snowy track at Whitecastle - soft pastel painting from a photograph

(Click here  for a blog post from way back, that includes some snow paintings by famous painters, such as Monet.)

We've had very little of 'the white stuff' down here in Abergavenny, so far this winter; though at times the peak of Sugarloaf has been gleaming brightly in the sunshine, aspiring to outshine the Matterhorn, no doubt.

But a few winters ago, we did have a significant snowfall, enough to make venturing forth with a camera worthwhile. And this photo is still one of my favourites, because of all the different colours the low winter sun revealed as it did its best to penetrate the trees in the park.

And, interestingly, I think there are as many 'warm' colours in this snowy palette as 'cool' ones!

I've sometimes heard people say that the first thing an artist must do is 'learn how to see'. 

I'm not sure about that. I can't ever remember 'learning to see' or anything like that. But I do think it makes life more interesting, not just for artists, if we can sometimes take the time to notice the shapes and the colours all around us, even in things we see so often that we take them for granted. 

Taking photos is easy nowadays: most of us have a digital camera or a smartphone. So why not make a point of noticing the surprising colours  - and shapes  - in your everyday surroundings. And if you can, take a photo and post it on the social media with the hashtag: 


(you may even discover, as I have, that your everyday surroundings are so fascinating, that expensive holidays/vacations lose some of their attraction!)

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