Friday, 17 February 2017

Painting Winter Scenes

Winter in Quebec, acrylic, 24" x 12"

Blog 7

When I started to go on painting trips with the Plein Air Ensemble in April 2009, I attempted to paint outside in any temperature despite the fact that we always had a room to paint if inclement weather prevented us from going outside. I was a mother of two young children at the time and painting time was precious. Only falling snow or rain, heavy fog and extreme winds would prevent me and my friend Janis from painting on site. Today, I am not as eager. Once, the temperature drops below -10 degrees, I prefer to stay inside, or sketch from the shelter of a car.

Even though I hate the long Canadian winter with its cold temperatures, I am fascinated with the bright days when the snow glistens in the sun and changes colour not because of the dirt of the passing cars but because of the changing daylight. I love to sit inside and watch the falling snow. I have to admit that once November has passed, I can actually hardly wait for the first snow to transform the monochrome landscape into a winter wonderland. I also love to walk through the fresh snow. The thick white puffs weighing down the branches and the prints left in the snow from animals and humans alike are intriguing. Driving in the white stuff is, however, a completely different story.

What is it about the snow that is so irresistible for painters? Snow makes everything look so much brighter and more striking, especially under a bright blue day sky. The white snow creates a strong contrast with the dark trees and bushes, its colour changes during the breathtaking sunsets with the purple and pink clouds. I guess during the long winter nights, we long even more for the brightness to cheer us up.

Once, we reach the end of winter when the snow starts to thaw, the snow patches in the monochrome landscape create interesting shapes on the ground.

Frozen rivers and creeks are also a fascinating image to paint. Being able to walk over ice opens up new possibilities to reach areas which are usually impassable. However, it is often hard to take painting equipment to these remote areas. I usually take my camera to take pictures for studio paintings. Partially thawed creeks and lakes often have a beautiful green colour which is one of my favourite winter colours. The open parts of rivers and creeks also create interesting shapes to paint.

At the end of March, I will go again with the Plein Air Ensemble to the Magog-Orford area in the Eastern Townships. As all of us, I can hardly wait to capture the transition from winter to spring. This year, I hope that we will be able to capture spots of snow and frozen ice without the bitterly cold winter wind.

For now, I hope you enjoy my little collage of winter images. If you would like to see some of the paintings in person, please visit the St. Laurent Complex, 525 Coté St, Ottawa. “Quebec Winter” hangs at the Promenade Arteast wall at the Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd, Ottawa, until the March 14, 2017.

I hope you will return to my blog next Friday, when I will talk a bit about my favourite famous winter paintings.

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