Watching Snow Fall on a Cold January Afternoon

img044I watch snow flurries falling and swirling around. Through my kitchen window I can see a bleak, gray day with the snow creating white blotches on the grass. Paths and the driveway are all white, but the grass and the trees are ignoring the snow.  What is about the snow that makes us simply want to sit and stare at the wonder of it all? I am quickly reminded of the snow I saw in October 1962. I was a new bride and had just moved to Goose Bay, Labrador with my husband. I remember looking out the window and seeing snow flakes larger than I had ever seen.They were the size of quarters. Mesmerized, I stood by the window for hours and watched the snow spread a blanket of beautiful white over the ground. Suddenly, a landscape that was bleak and ugly was beautiful, pristine. A multitude of sins was covered.

Is it the child like curiosity we hold within us which is drawn to this beautiful part of God’s creation?  Or, is it the artist in me that appreciates this simple beauty and makes me want to paint this scene? There is no sun, just a gray day. The contrasting greens of the cedar and pines trees are a dark gray green. The bare tree branches of other trees are gray green to dark brown. How do you begin to paint an interesting landscape with these monotone colors.

A wash of a mixture of phthalo blue with burnt umber makes the sky a cool distant gray. The distant dark green trees also receive this same wash pushing them into the distance. To warm the sky a little, burnt sienna and raw sienna are washed across certain points of the sky giving a soft orange glow. The Sycamore tree and the Catalpa trees outside my window create a strong 3D effect. Their branches reach outward and upward toward me. French Ultramarine blue and raw sienna are mixed to create darker areas. Shadows are absent, but there are darker areas.  Deep searching the area reveals much. The more you look, the more you see and discover. This searching is the beginning of a painting.

 

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