Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Artist's Wonderland

"Frosty Farm" 20 x 20 oil on canvas (work in progress)
A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.
Carl Reiner

Before we “spring forward” here in the Rockies  one of my goals was to paint a winter scape. What makes snowy landscapes so appealing? Now I have to agree with Mr. Reiner—I’m really am not a big fan of winter. But as a painter I’ve always loved snow kissed landscapes.  Fresh sunlit snow can turn an ordinary landscape or even a simple evergreen into a sparkling masterpiece.

A couple of years ago I was in Indianapolis where I had the chance to visit a lovely traditional horse farm. It had acres of rolling hills, white fences, and a beautiful brook—I imagined it the land would be filled with glorious color in the spring and summer.  But I was there in January—so it was gloomy and freezing.  Not exactly the photos where I thought: I’m going to paint that one day…

Fast forward  to a few weeks ago when  I needed  a “local tone” subject for my master painting class.  After searching my reference pics, I was reminded that I rarely take photos in bad weather conditions. And then I remembered the trip to Indiana farm...

As much as I enjoyed mixing a wide range of cool and warm grays, I decided to bump up the chroma in a few places which I thought worked well.  One of the reasons I enjoyed this painting so much is that I got to paint it in a warm studio while sipping my Mexican hot chocolate.

But in my heart I know I brave the elements one day and paint all the subtleties of snow first hand out in the field. In preparation of that day, here are some excellent snow painting tips from plein air painter Kathleen Dunphy.

Cool Art Find of the Week
Finally, do you enjoy doodling? Do you like to sculpt? Imagine a pen that allows you to both! Check out the 3Doodler. If you’ve ever used one let me know what it’s like!