A Quiet Snowfall

TM9242 A Quiet Snowfall 36×40 oil on panel

Most of my paintings these days have an unexpected trajectory – I start with an idea, then it suddenly morphs and I end up in a new place. This view near the edge of my pond is an example. I fell in love with some recent photographs of the spot taken this past October and November. The olive greens and russets were beautiful together, and the arc of land with a hint of the pond and creek beyond formed a good contrast with tall foreground trees. I thought the golden light would set the mood. I started painting, and it was looking pretty good……

….until I found a picture from the same spot, one I had taken last December. Oh the magic of a snowfall! Suddenly all those russets looked brown and unexciting. With the painting nearly finished, I didn’t want to stop, but I couldn’t continue either, so I picked up my trusty rubber roller and started painting in snow. Immediately, the magic was back. I plunged on, switching to a brush occasionally. The silence of falling snow was now the subject of the painting, an all-enveloping silence; it was the music I needed to hear. Details below. Enjoy.

TM9242 A Quiet Snowfall – detail showing snow clumped on boughs

TM9242 A Quiet Snowfall – detail

Technical painting notes: I suspect that the motto of the post is to trust your instincts. The painting started with a roll-up of dark rusty burnt siennas, and umbers, mixed with violet. My aim was to set the patterns of light and dark, and establish some subtle textures that would “show through” the transparent glazes I would later apply. I used a scraper to remove paint, allowing for a suggestion of the weeds and underbrush in the foreground and tree trunks in the distance. When the base layer was dry, I glazed in color and started working with brushes and my roller to refine the forms and details. Then the breakthrough  – switching the season to early winter. I used a roller and brushes to “lay” snow on everything (shades of gray, violet, and blues, mixed with Liquin). I also spattered pale blue/gray and white for snow.


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