If we’re lucky, November and December bring a number of beautiful Passing Snow Showers. This painting depicts Gloucester’s Bass Rocks just as one is going out to sea. The graphic pattern of the snow enlivens and accents the geometry of the rock formations, but without being so deep as to hide their forms. Best of all, because the snow isn’t deep, no need for special equipment to get to the view. Winter sneakers or hiking shoes will suffice.
Technical painting notes: Though small, this painting has been in development for years. Repeated field trips to the site to draw and photograph the rocks were necessary, but it wasn’t until I had been thinking about the composition for some time that I realized exactly how to approach painting the snow. After establishing the horizon line, I blocked in the major forms quickly using transparent pigments and Liquin Impasto medium (for added texture). I let the painting dry, then started work bringing up the forms using a range of gray tones achieved by mixing complementary colors, with an emphasis on transparent red. When the rock formation was basically complete, I let the painting dry a few days then, using a soft brush, lightly stroked a grayish white tone along the tops (and some cracks) of the rocks. A slightly brighter white was used to accent the foreground. The key was to keep the touch very light, and to not overwork the powdering of snow.