Painting the snow

I think it's fair to say that plein air painters up and down the UK were avidly watching the weather forecasts last week to see when they were likely to get some of the white stuff. I had one go at painting the snow a few months ago but it didn't go well, so I was keen to have another crack at it. It's a real test for plein air painters. The landscape is completely different to what we are used to in terms of colour and the temperatures can be a real test of physical endurance. I had one 'cheat' session when the snow first fell (I painted indoors looking out of our living room window - it's not a particularly inspiring scene, so I won't bother sharing it with you, but it was good practice). The second day we had much more snow and it continued to fall. The roads had become pretty ridiculous so I had to head out on foot, and set up about 200 yards from my house. I had an umbrella but the snow was persistent and soon ice crystals covered my board and palette. I was attracted to the curve in the road and the scene was so much more attractive with the road markings hidden...even the slush worked tonally, tying in with the distant tree skeletons. Unfortunately I had to give up before I reached a point where it felt finished - the paint just wouldn't stick! 

 Just before I packed up...you can barely see my palette or the painting for snow crystals!

Just before I packed up...you can barely see my palette or the painting for snow crystals!

I took it home to thaw out and it dried nicely overnight, so in the morning I was able to scrape off any unsightly lumps and reapply fresh paint. 

 'Quiet on Hindhead Road' | oil on panel | 10x12"

'Quiet on Hindhead Road' | oil on panel | 10x12"

On day three, conditions were much better. The snow had begun to thaw and temperatures were higher, so we took the kids out for sledging at nearby Brook, and I had a brief opportunity to have a go. I feel this was a more successful painting - the paint was so much easier to apply and being under pressure to get the scene recorded in about an hour was good practice. 

brook-sledging.jpg

I am happy with the composition and the figures. Highly likely this will be on my Christmas cards this year!

 'Last call for sledging' | oil on panel | 12x12"

'Last call for sledging' | oil on panel | 12x12"