Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, January 20, 2012

Painting the Snow

First Snow
Tuesday evening after arriving home from a meeting with Northwest Oil Painters (around 9:00), i grabbed a bite to eat as the first serious snow of this winter started to stick on the valley floor. As the snow began to accumulate, i decided that i was going to go out and paint my first plein air snow scene; which happens to be something i have been anticipating for months. So, after i wolfed down my grub and chatted with my wife a bit; around 10:30 i loaded up my gear and walked down the block to go find my snow scene and paint it.
I knew i wanted Old Evergreen Hwy in the painting, but trying to layout the composition was a challenge. I landed on the corner of our street where the hwy makes a slight bend and has a couple street lights and some interesting trees. And of course the fresh coat of snow makes everything come to life.
There wasn't much traffic, but a snow plow did manage to get my attention as it rumbled by and obliterated the soft tracks. And my poor umbrella only collapsed once leaving my palette even more sparkly with a snowbank of its own.
I managed to stay warm and fairly dry the entire time, except for one thing........my hands. Holy Cow! My fingers were so cold that when i started packing up to head home, they couldn't even break down my tripod. I had to put on some gloves and work the knobs with the palm of my hand. I know what you're thinking, but i am NOT wearing gloves when i paint, at least not chunky work gloves, i need the dexterity.
I arrived home at 12:30 and tried to shake the snow off everything as best as possible and began the warm up of my hands. I was so wired from the experience that i did not go to bed until 2:00 - even though a full day of work was only four hours away. I say that, not to complain, but to explain the depths of what a painter will do to capture a moment in time - and i wouldn't have it any other way.
This nocturnal experience of plein air painting left me craving more snow - the fleeting and tranquil beauty it brings when it graces the valley floor is futile to resist.


  1. Another great story and painting Mike! You are a die-hard plein air artist my friend!

  2. What I love so much about this painting (aside from everything) is how the tracks in the snow could be any number of things... Those tracks could be a driveway, railroad tracks, ski tracks...etc--the viewer can decide and the colors are so deliciously cold! It's a really great painting!